Bei Mir Bistu Shein portrays geographically distant members of an Orthodox Jewish family living in different parts of the world: United States, England and Israel. The subjects are displayed in a light and setting that emphasizes their distinct way of life, which can be perceived as strange and archaic, yet intriguing to outsiders. The colors and floral background cause the photographs to take on a painting-like quality, highlighting the mysticism of the subjects and their association with a history and tradition that many may find unfamiliar. Simultaneously, the connection amongst the various family members helps establish a sense of warmth and familiarity for the viewer, illustrating how the values of family and togetherness serve as the cornerstone of Jewish tradition, much like they do for the lives of many who live in today’s society.
The subjects of these portraits exist in a liminal space between history and modernity. This dichotomy–the old and the new, modernity and tradition–captures the essence of the subjects–people who define their lives by an idea that embodies the physical and the mystical world perhaps more than any other: Faith.
By Kovi Konowiecki