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(Identity and Image)
Micha Bar-Am
Curated by Ken Light

September 28 - December 12, 2004

Copyright Micha Bar-Am
Demonstration, Western Wall, Jerusalem, 1989

“I used a camera to take advantage of the great adventure that was going on around me. This is what photography is about: to stop time, to freeze memories and to hope that maybe this is what remainsÖThe camera gives you an excuse to get closer to things, and to observe yourself looking at certain situations.”
–Micha Bar-Am


From the founding of the state of Israel in 1948 to the present day, conflict in the Middle East has centered on this tiny nation. From his days on a Kibbutz in the late 1940s and throughout the regionís tumultuous history in the 1950s, 60s and 70s Micha Bar-Am photographed the life of his people and his country chronicling its flow of immigrants, its festivals and demonstrations, and its ever-present conflicts.

Bar-Am has called Israel his "lifetime assignment" and his pictures deal with fascinating complexity of Israeli life. Rooted in photojournalism but shaped by an artist's eye, his work belongs to the tradition of such photographers as Robert Capa, Walker Evans and W. Eugene Smith. He was at the transit camps for immigrants in the '50s; at the trial of Adolf Eichmann; at the Western Wall and the Temple Mount with the first Israeli paratroopers to retake the Old City in 1967; with Golda Meir in Sinai in 1970; at the state funeral for the Munich Olympics athletes; with General Ariel Sharon and Defense Minister Moshe Dayan as they crossed the Suez Canal in the Yom Kippur War of 1973; with the hostages who returned from Entebbe in 1976; with Menachem Begin during Anwar Sadat's historic visit of 1977; at the evacuation of Yamit, Sinai; with Israeli troops in Beirut; at the intifada in Gaza City; and at Yitzhak Rabin's funeral in 1995.

Read Micha Bar-Am's conversation with Ken Light here.

"Itís hard work to dig deeper and try to understand the complexity of the situation and the fact that there is not just one side which is right or wrong." –Micha Bar-Am

This exhibition was curated by Ken Light and is presented in cooperation with the Center for Photography of the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley. The Southeast Museum of Photography also wishes to acknowledge the generous assistance and support of the Jewish Federation of Volusia and Flagler Counties and Mr. Glickstein in making programming associated with this exhibition possible.

    Copyright Micha Bar-Am
Shilo, West Bank, 1978


Micha Bar-Am was born in Germany in 1930. When he was six years old he immigrated with his parents to Palestine. He was active in Israelís pre-independance underground and later served in the Infantry Corps during Israel's 1948 War of Independence. In 1949, he helped to found Kibbutz Malkiya on the Lebanese border and later worked as a locksmith, mounted guard, and youth instructor at the Kibbutz Gesher-Haziv in Western Galilee. In the 1950s, he joined the archeological expedition in the Judean Desert which led to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

He began to photograph seriously in the early fifties and in 1957 became a photographer-reporter for the Israeli Army magazine Ba-Mahaneh where he remained on the editorial staff for ten years. He served as a photographic correspondent for the New York Times in Israel from 1968 to 1992 and in 1967 he became a member of the international photographers collective Magnum. In 1959 and 1960 he was awarded the Robert Capa Award.

In 1968 he worked with Cornell Capa to create the exhibition Israel the Reality at The Jewish Museum in New York City and from 1977 to 1993 he was curator and founding director of the Department of Photographs at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, a position he held until. He has since returned to his own photography. His books include Portrait of Israel (1970), The Jordan Massada (1971), Micha Bar-Am: On the Edge (1992), The Last War (1996) and Israel: A Photobiography (Simon and Schuster, 1998). He resides in Ramat Gan, Israel.

About the prints: 40 Silver Gelatin prints

Ken Light and Micha Bar-Am
Meet the Artist and Book Signing
Tuesday, November 16, 5:30pm

Ken Light: "The Photography of Micha Bar-Am"
Lunchtime Gallery Talk
Wednesday, November 17, 12:00pm

Click here for exhibition brochure...
  Ken Light: "Documentary Projects and Photojournalism"
Student Seminar and Workshop
Wednesday, November 17, 10am-noon and 2-5pm

Jewish Mini Film Festival...Click here for flyer (pdf)
September 17 - 23
Cinematique Theater, Daytona Beach

Click here for press about the exhibition...

Copyright Micha Bar-Am Copyright Micha Bar-Am
Copyright Micha Bar-Am
Preparing for Yom Kippur, Jerusalem, 1967 Informers, West Bank, 1967 Solitary confinement cell, Beersheva prison, 1971
Gallery Installation
Micha Bar-Am Exhibition Installation Image Micha Bar-Am Exhibition Installation Image
Micha Bar-Am Exhibition Installation Image

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