About the Exhibition

Life at the bottom of Earth      by Ilan Mizrahi & Deborah Cherki

The countless words that have been written about the lowest point in the world, as well as any description that we might add, could not properly describe this area’s uniqueness. Not stories of those who have passed here throughout history, nor explanations about the geology and geography that fascinate researchers until this day.

If so, what could be that special about this place, whose conditions make living here difficult, and whose waters are too salty for the existence of life? Well, we do not have the answer! However, after 11 years of living in this area, all we can say is that anyone residing here, remains surprised anew every morning by this pure wonder.

This is the reason we have chosen to tell of the beauty of our residential area through photography, which serves as our language and the window to our souls. Despite the effort, even the captured photographs pale in comparison to the true beauty of the wild nature surrounding us.

The initial reason that brought us to live in a kibbutz in the Dead Sea region was the will to work on a photographed project, telling the story of the place. We came for one year, but the years passed by quickly, and what was temporary became permanent. We settled down here and bought our house, hoping to spend the rest of our lives in this magical and addictive spot that has become our home base.

We never abandoned our photography, and the pictures we took stacked up in our computers, with the hopes of publishing a photography book someday, hopefully interesting others in the conservation of the area and saving the lake in its midst.

We had the privilege of presenting for 3 months this exhibition at Masada Exhibition Hall (Israel), which for us, is the most suitable stage for the exemplification of life today at the bottom of the Earth.

More than 200.000 people saw the exhibition that led eventually to the making of the photography book “Life at the bottom of Earth”, with the hope that it will help in preserving its purity, and protect it from the destruction of modernity and exploitation of nature by man.

 

About the Artists

Deborah Cherki and Ilan Mizrahi are a married couple living in kibbutz Almog, in the northern Dead Sea area.

They have been working together for many years in their professional realm of journalism, but have been photographing personal projects separately, demonstrating their differences and own uniqueness.

For 23 years, Ilan has been documenting the area and his attraction to the place’s power as part of his journalistic endeavor.

His work refers to the combination between man and nature, with an emphasis on light and composition, creating “the whole” in the relation between “man and place”.

Ilan Mizrahi, Israeli, born in 1973. Began working as a photojournalist in 1995 for newspapers and magazines in Israel and abroad.

He has published much of his work in the London Times, Los Angeles Times, Le Monde 2, Washington Post, Time Magazine – and has presented his work in individual as well as group exhibitions in Israel and abroad.

Since 2003, Ilan began integrating film and worked as a photographer for Danish television, creating several independent documentaries.

In 2009, Ilan directed and shot his first documentary movie, Rise of the Right, which then aired around the world. That same year, he published his book Existence, an album presenting Jerusalem in photographs, as well as participated in exhibitions on the subject in the USA and France.

During this year, Ilan was certified as an official tour guide by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, and since then, has been combining between guiding tourists and journalism.

Deborah became a shutterbug years ago, but her passion for the field is best expressed in her unique work combining between a loyalty to the photographed reality and artistic digital processing.

Deborah’s work presents the connection between man and nature in a world of plastic surrounding us. The pictured plants have been planted by man, brought to the site in plastic buckets, and are watered, even today, using plastic tubes.

Even lighting, giving the trees their special colour at night, is sourced from a world of electricity led to us by iron cables coated in plastic! Thus, some photographs in the exhibition demonstrate this philosophy, using a digital effect that reminds us of the invisible source of this beauty.

Deborah Cherki, born in France in the year 1979. At age 17, she made an aliah to Israel with her family.

In 2001, she began working in a photography lab in Jerusalem, where she learned the secrets of light and began taking pictures for her own enjoyment.

Following a course in video editing, Deborah began working in foreign television networks and editing documentaries. In 2009, she was certified as a tour guide by the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, and has since been combining between the professions.