To Remember and To Never Forget

Memory is something that has a very strong meaning in my culture. I come from Israel and I am Jewish. The idea of memory is very important in jewish culture: we tell the stories of our people and nation over and over again, the stories of the bible, our departure from Egypt, and of course, the Holocaust.

I am a third generation Holocaust survivor, meaning, my grandparents have survived the Holocaust.

The story of the Holocaust is one I’ve heard many times, however the story of my own family wasn’t shared very much. I’ve never met my grandfather and my grandmother did not speak much about it.

I remember at the age of 12 I was told to make a project for school recording my family’s history, and like everyone else who were third generation, I was told to have a chapter about the holocaust. When it came the time to interview my grandmother she had told me to leave the room and had my mother interview her instead, and even then she did say much.

My grandmother passed away in November 2009 and then I had found out that a few years before that, my grandmother had been interviewed about her life and about the holocaust. Those videos have been played around the house after her passing however I’d try to ignore them and whenever they’d been playing I would leave the room.

Fast forward 7 years and I get told that for my next assignment in university I need to make a short video about time or memory. I decided to try and use those videos of my grandmother and try to tell her story and her and my family’s history.

Making that video was a challenge, I was very unfocused and I didn’t really want to too much into the story of the holocaust, mostly because I felt it’s still not for me to hear, and she wouldn’t like me to hear it.

Eventually I decided to make the video about her life up until that moment, and leaving it to the end, so I can share a glimpse of the good life she actually had before that.

The finished video can be found HERE

Much love to you savta,

Yam.

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Warrington Museum & Art Gallery-RPS International Print Exhibition 158

On Tuesday the 18th of April I got to go and have a look at the RPS International Print exhibition that is taking place in the Warrington Museum&Art Gallery.

Right from the start when you walk in the exhibition is very impressive. Over 100 photographs are covering the walls of the exhibition room, neatly placed with great precision.

The photographs are all very different from one another, however non of them feel out of place.

The first image that I was drawn to was one by David Severn. It was of what seems to be a pageant queen, however she was sitting down in what looks like pub waitress uniform with her sash across her, and with a distant, or even angry look on her face.

11_Thanks-Maggie_David-Severn
David Severn from his series “Thanks Maggie”: Nottinghamshire, UK – March, 2014: Miss Mansfield 2013-2014 at Forest Town Miners’ Welfare Club. When the local coal mines were open it was tradition for each colliery to crown a “Coal Queen”, who were mascots for the industry.

I don’t know what drew me to this image over the rest, I was just so interested in the story of this young lady. I started to make up a story for her in my own head, of being a previous beauty queen who didn’t end up going into the modelling industry and had to work in a pub. I later walked closer and read the explanation and then it all clicked.

What was also interesting to me about this one is that is was surrounded by images from another photographer, who took photographs of elderly people at the beach, and it gave the photograph another element that would not be there had the image been shown on it’s on, and it’s the element of growing old. The placing of the images was a creative choice of the museum and it made it’s impact.

For the rest of the images from this series, and more from David Severn visit http://davidsevern.com/

The second image I was drawn to was by a Photographer called Lukasz Kubicki and it was an images from a series of images called An Imagined State in Which Everything Is Perfect.

The image was completely black apart from one strand of light going through the middle of it.

Lukasz 003

The Picture in itself is a very interesting and unique image to look at, however what made it even more interesting is the fact that the photo frames used in the museum are reflective, and since the photograph is completely black it made so that you’d be looking at yourself and your surrounding while looking at the photograph, making you feel like you are in the picture itself, in the Imagined State in Which Everything Is Perfect.

I thought this was a very clever way to make the exhibition more engaging.

Overall I found the exhibition very captivating and well made. They managed to take different images who otherwise wouldn’t have any relation to one another and made so they looked like a full story. I would highly recommend going to the exhibition.

RPS International Print 158 exhibition in the Warrington Museum&Art Gallery Saturday 2 Apr 2016 – Saturday 30 Apr 2016.

 

In Between Fear and Anxiety

This project was one of the first projects I had to create for my studies in university. We were presented with an option of one out of five different emotions: fear, sadness, happiness, confidence and lust.

I have been suffering from anxiety ever since I can remember myself and it had a big impact on my life. I have an understanding of the inner workings of it, both because I suffer from it and also because my mother works with people who suffer from PTSD and I have been surrounded by psychologists who specialise in treating anxiety my whole life, as they are my mother’s co-workers.

I’ve decided to use my own personal experiences and feelings and create images from them. Some examples for the images I’ve had are as followed:

Amber Light:

Amber Light

The idea for this image came about when I was asking my mother about the inner workings of fears and anxieties. She said that fear is like the amber light that alerts you that there is a danger approaching and you need to react, which then makes the body act with the three F’s: flight fight and freeze, which are represented by the reds and the greens. Greens represent flight and fight and reds are freeze. I used this theme and the colour scheme of greens and reds throughout the whole project to explain the reactions linked into the fears and their reactions.
Anxiety is what comes after that and is like a broken stoplight, blinking with an amber light even when there is nothing there.

Heights:

Heights

This image represents one of my biggest phobias, heights. I got inspiration for this one as I found the escalators on the tube in London to be terrifying and find them very difficult to use to the level I have to close my eyes whenever I use them, which is why this image is from a looking upwards prospective and not from the top looking down, as I physically could not do it. The image has a red hue to it as it has an immediate reacting for me which is to freeze.

Both of the two first images have motion blur in them because I wanted it to feel distorted and uneasy, which I achieved by having my shutter speed quite slow and moved the camera as I was taking the image. For the next 10 images, as most of them were shot in the studio with a flash, I chose not to use motion blur and rather use double exposure and layering to get the same impact. To create this I shot several different images and layered them one on top of each other using Photoshop, with some images being blending in to the background, to make them seem like they are there, but then they’re not.

Choking:

Chocking

This image represents the feeling of suffocation during a panic attack. It’s reacting to the heights image. It has no hue to is as the reaction has passed.

The Fear of Being Forgotten:

The Fear of Being Forgotten

This is my favourite image. It expresses a fear that I feel most people have, the fear of leaving this world and not having anything to remember them by. It’s dominated by greens because the reaction to it is to fight it, and create things so you won’t be forgotten. The double layer I used in this image was of grass and mushrooms to represent the body decaying and blending into the earth once it’s buried in the ground.

For the full project and visit Yam Kovatch Photography on Facebook.

For this project I took a lot of inspiration from Katie Joy Crawford’s project “My Anxious Heart”. I found it while researching for photographers who have dealt with the same subject. Her images are very hard hitting and were relatable to me, as someone who suffers from the disorder. Katie’s work can be found HERE.

The main image that was drawn directly from her interpretation is an image of myself screaming, titled “Attack”:

Attack

This image was meant to represent how I feel during a panic attack, I just want the world to be quite and stop for a minute. I felt that this image could not be expressed the way I wanted it to had I used models and had to model for it myself.

Overall I feel like i managed to bring my experiences into the images and transfer my emotions to the viewers. The viewing experience is meant to be individual and even though every image has a story behind it, I wanted to leave space for personal interpretation, and have the images provoke reactions and to bring out the viewer’s own personal fears, simply with making the image feel somewhat not right.

Of course there are things I would want to add or change, maybe give place to other images and maybe play around more with the idea of double exposure, however I do feel like this is a project I will revisit again through my career. For now, I am very pleased with it.

-Yam.

Introduction

My name is Yam Kovatch.
I’m a photography student studying in the University of Chester.
My main focus in photography is editorial and fine art photography and the link between the two.
I believe that photography and fashion is an art in it’s own right.
In this blog you would be able to find my work and more in depth explanations about the reasoning behind the projects.
-Yam.