Yael Ben-Zion | Intermarried
I use the medium of photography to explore themes of individual and collective identity, and personal choices one makes within socio-political contexts. I usually work on long-term projects that provide me with a framework in which I can weave together fractions of reality to compose a subtle visual narrative. Using medium and large format film cameras, I create formal and nuanced images that intend to shed new and personal light on familiar and often politically charged issues.
My current project, Intermarried, explores the notion, and questions the implications, of intermarriage. I initiated the project in September 2009 by contacting an online parent group in Washington Heights, my New York neighborhood, inviting couples who define themselves as ‘mixed couples’ to participate. Being myself part of a ‘mixed couple’, I was interested in the many challenges faced by couples who choose to share their lives regardless of their different origins, ethnicities, races or religions. Drawing on the experience of the people who responded to my post, I have developed a narrative that deals with the multifaceted issues posed by intermarriage.
Intermarried does not attempt to represent all kinds of intermarriages or illustrate what ‘mixed couples’ look like. Rather, through images and text (including excerpts from a questionnaire I asked my subjects to fill out), the project reflects on the experience of people who choose to live with someone who is not from their immediate social group. Moreover, the project juxtaposes interfaith and interracial marriages in order to make viewers re-think their own preconception. And this is maybe the main idea behind Intermarried - to create a platform for thinking and talking about issues that are very personal but have vast social and political implications.
The project will be published by Kehrer in Fall 2013.