At a Second Glance: A Contemporary Re-examination of the KKL-JNF Photo Archive | Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem

At a Second Glance: A Contemporary Re-examination of the KKL-JNF Photo Archive


presented by the archive and the Photography Department of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem.

Opening: 28.3.2019

Closing: 21.5.2019

Location : outside 97 Yaffo St. Jerusalem

Invitation and More Information

Invitation to the closing event on May 5

The exhibition “At a Second Glance” presents works created by students of the Photography Department of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, deriving from their examination of the photographs preserved in The Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel (Jewish National Fund) Photo Archive.
The KKL-JNF Photo Archive, established in 1920, has over 110 years of rare and unique photographs of Eretz Israel and the State of Israel. The archive material encompasses all spheres of life and major historical milestones from the pre-state period to the present, including the pioneers and early settlers; leading figures; agricultural developments; establishment of the kibbutzim, moshavim and the pioneering cities, the diversity of immigrants who built the country; the evolving landscapes; the emergent industrial development and many more intriguing aspects.
The KKL-JNF Photo Archive welcomed the students of the Bezalel Photography Department and offered them an opportunity to take a fresh look at the collection while encouraging a contemporary understanding of the archive photos.
The visit to the archive was followed by discussion. We talked about the major theories and philosophies relevant to understanding the essential nature of archives and the way in which they function. We investigated the concept of documentation and preservation that forms the essence of an archive. We contemplated the statement made by Socrates (469-399 BCE) who wrote nothing down, arguing that writing encourages forgetting, which negates the idea on which archives are based. Furthermore, we surveyed contemporary works of art from Israel and abroad, in which archives are used as a foundation for the development of contemporary photography.
Enriched with new knowledge and inspiration, the students returned to the archive, where they re-examined the photographs and chose a theme for their own documentary projects. The principal question with which they were concerned was how can an archive serve as inspiration for contemporary photography?
This exhibition displays selected photographs from the students’ work which are a direct result of the unique collaboration between the KKL-JNF Photo Archive and the Bezalel Photography Department. As part of the mutual project, a special course was initiated in the department during the present school year.  The course invited and encouraged a dialogue between the students’ creative work and the archive material.
Our heartfelt thanks are extended to the KKL-JNF Photo Archives for opening its doors to us and for making this special learning experience and collaboration possible. In addition, we would like to express our appreciation to Efrat Sinai and Naomi Hadari for professionally handling this KKL-JNF exhibition.
Yaakov Israel
Photographer, Lecturer, and Exhibition Curator