A young settler girl, dressed in a bridal outfit for Purim, stands in a street in Hebron waiting, perhaps for her parents or other children to join her. In the background three soldiers scan the buildings and the rooftops for threatening presences. Turning her back to the soldiers, the little girl pays no attention to what surrounds her. Her gaze is directed beyond the picture’s frame. The soldiers do not seem to protect the child either, their eyes and guns are pointed in different directions. Two of them seem to be looking at the camera, which brings the picture back to a certain reality. In this photograph, as in the one with the disguised boy, there is a palpable tension and the contradictory representation of two realties: the war and childhood innocence. Moreover, in both photographs, the costume implies fiction and may suggest that feelings are hidden. Wolberg’s images portray violence, but very differently than what you expect from war reportage, for example the terrible images of children during the Vietnam war like the famous photograph by Kim Phuc. Pavel Wolberg observes the incongruities of life in Israel, where trying to carry on a « normal » life can sometime create absurd situations.
Pavel Wolberg studied photography at the Camera Obscura School of Art in Tel Aviv. Since graduating he has pursued two careers simultaneously: that of a field photographer for newspapers and as an artist. This duality is reflected in his work, but it is also at the heart of much of the most interesting photography being made now. Like artists such as Wolfgang Tillmans, Wolberg blurs the boundaries between fine art photography, reportage and fashion photography. Living in a theatre of conflict, Pavel Wolberg records the tensions, absurdities and insecurities of daily life in both Israel and the Occupied territories. His work (re)presents the complex times in which we live and, although rooted in the Israeli situation, his images represent incongruities the world over.
Pavel Wolberg was born in Leningrad in 1966 and he immigrated to Israel in 1973. He lives and works in Tel Aviv, Israel.