When considering my time in Israel and Palestine I am often drawn back to an experience from my youth. My parents were living and working in Zambia at the time, and whilst waiting outside the customs offices on the way home my sister walked up to a young african girl she had just met, and embraced her with the biggest hug a 3 year old can give.
This scene would often slip into my mind when observing the tension and hatred that often exemplifies the separation in the occupied territories and West Bank. If children from two completely different backgrounds can so easily ignore the prejudice surrounding them, where does it go wrong? Why is it that our basic human instincts are so easily overshadowed by our pursuits, passions and the weight of the cultural pressures surrounding us?!
However futile,I hope that my images will bring reconciliation to this beautiful yet damaged area.
I don’t think I ever fully understand the full purpose of what I’m trying to achieve when I document the daily lives of others. It can often feel overwhelming that I may only be able to influence such a small groups of people with the stories that I am trying to tell… And yet even I felt my own bias challenged and was often reminded of my own judgements when exposed to the prejudices each side has against the other. Despite my personal doubts I feel compelled to continue with my investigation of the situation in the occupied territories.
Mainstream media so often narrows their focus to such a degree that I can’t blame the average viewer for not accurately understanding the complex situation within this small stretch of land. While it would be arrogant to assume that my images tell anything close to the full story, it is my desire that through the stories I bring to viewers - both near to and removed from the situation - they would be able to find a common thread in humanity through the experiences of those on either side of the wall. Despite their own culture or ethnicity, the viewer would be able to consider the situation as a citizen of this world, without applying any other labels onto their understanding and judgments.
By approaching each day, and each experience as a unique encounter, I hope that through my documentation I am able to remain free from biased influence from the religious, societal and political forces at play. Instead of seeking to weave a story around a common theme, I decided to try approach each moment with a fresh set of eyes, allowing the land and it’s people to define my experiences. And so only in hindsight can I truly reflect on what I have captured and how it could help redefine my own understanding of this land and it’s amazing people.