Daniel Tchetchikby Alison Roberts | 21.07.16
Telavivian recently sat down with Daniel Tchetchik, chief editor of the Haaretz photo blog Exposure, to discuss his role at the newspaper, personal works and latest book Sunburn. Published by the prominent Kehrer Verlag, Sunburn captures the relationship between an individual and their country, tracing issues of identity, climate change and geopolitical conflict–or put more generally, life under the sun.
Working as the chief editor of Haaretz’s photography blog, what are you looking for in the photographers whose work you choose to publish? What are you trying to accomplish through the platform?
The agenda that I pushed forward is content that is thought provoking and complex, but at the same time can connect to a wide audience. I have a very humanitarian agenda with the blog. I look for stories that are about a photographer’s personal experience, or if the photographer is telling a story about a certain community, or a certain landscape. Exposing great photography and having the capacity to reach such a wide audience; this is what makes working with the platform so meaningful.
For such a small country, Israel has managed to produce an incredible amount of successful photographers. How do you explain this phenomenon?
There is so much tension here…there is this very rough climate, there is this very diverse culture of people… all this inside a melting pot. That friction generates smoke, if not a fire. That fire has a lot of negative sides, but on the other side of that coin there is creativity.
What was the process of shooting for Sunburn?
Back in 2008, I started out with a digital camera, shooting a very street photography oriented project. As the series progressed I became very disconnected to my work with the digital camera. Then in 2012 when I started slowing down and using old cameras, film, going back to the classic approach, I think that’s where the series started to mold.
I never chose a specific location [to shoot]. I know great photographers who will see a certain location, and go back and back until they get it completely right. I love being instinctive–well, it’s not a matter of love or not, that’s who I am. I react emotionally to a situation/landscape and therefore want to capture that emotion, who knows how I will feel the next time I’m there, maybe nothing. I’m a very impatient person, a very impulsive person. I need to capture the situation in that point in time.
You’ve worked extensively in Israel and abroad. What makes working here so unique?
Here, there is no divide between my life and photography. I can’t go out and walk the streets without experiencing as if I have a camera, even if it’s not on me. I’m just constantly trying to find new places and new ways to see old ones in this tiny place–it’s endless. It’s 700 kilometers top to bottom and it’s endless. I talk to photographers who explore this place as if it’s the size of the United States. It’s strange, but that’s the way it is.