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Israeli Girls by Dafy Hagai

by Anna Kopito | 06.10.14

Sometimes the women in Israel get a strange wrap. Coming from a religious country in the Middle East – perceptions of what it is to be a woman in Israel often strays quite far from the reality. Photographer Dafy Hagai has taken a look at some Israeli teenagers with her new book Israeli Girls in an attempt to break that misconception and to represent the powerful potential, sexual liberation and downright beauty of what it is to be a young woman growing up in Israel.

Starting out as a zine, Dafy wanted to take a look at suburban Israeli youth culture by shooting young women from her hometown. Wanting to represent what youth culture looks like in Israel, Dafy wanted to show a piece of her own childhood in her work. finding that the kids that she captured showed the coolness and naivety of growing up – regardless of the conservative religious state of the surrounding country – Dafy wanted to show that growing up in the centre of Israel really has little to do with a conservatism which is often projected onto Israel as a preconceived notion of what a Jewish state might be. These girls are just growing up and dealing with all of the sexuality, fun and anticipation that teenagers are doing anywhere else.

Dafy wants to do an “Israeli Girls” exhibition – further promoting her cultural statement about the free spirit of Israeli teens. Working constantly with young people around the country, Dafy has seen a great deal of talent on the rise and this just makes her work even more relevant. Dafy is now starting work on a new book and we can only hope that it packs just as much of a female-empowered punch as the last one.

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Text by Francesca Kletz

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