Revisiting my early years: Observations ‘95
This project examines the processes of assimilation of Jews in society by focusing on the identificatory and emancipatory processed involved. I am interested in questionning the impact of assimilation on Jewish identity. This work is a social commentary through immediate observation.
Although this project exclusively deals with Belgian Jews and their integration in the mainstream society, there is a universal quality to this process that can be translated for other communities throughout the world.
While conducting this project, I visited with several families, listening and speaking with them. I was looking for familiar attitudes and I was attracted by their faces, their gestures, their present and their past.
I mainly did portraits. I wanted to stop the mouvement, to question the subjects facing the lens, only the subject being photographed was the focus without any other point of reference.
Some subjects agreed to pose for me; it did not disturb them to be identified as Jews. Others could not stand the idea of being in front of a camera that would challenge their self-image. Other told me that I had to be careful not to compile a list of Jews that could be used by anti-semites in the future.
In the subjects that I chose to photograph, I looked for signs of Judaism. For some it meant the religion and its observance, for others it was more secular through an identification with a collective history and the transmission of certain values and traditions. This work attempt to show the complexity of the process of acculturation. This work also represents a rediscovery of a community in which I was raised which is defined by a system of codes and conventions that I try to analyse.
Albert Aniel ‘95 copyright