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Photo by Gidon Levin
Photo by Gidon Levin
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Photographer Gidon Levin Explores Military Iconography And Space

Picture of Ruthie Berber
Updated: 5 January 2017
Gidon Levin is an established Israeli photographer in his 30s, and has been working with the medium since the age of 18. A graduate from the prestigious Bezalel Arts School’s Photography Department, Gidon Levin has exhibited in both solo and group exhibitions. From being featured in Tel Aviv’s annual Fresh Paint Art Fair twice and putting on a solo show in Vienna, curated by Sharon Toval, to the International Photography Festival in Athens, Greece, Levin is fully immersed in photography; he ‘feels like he was born to do this.’ His career has been marked with important milestones such as being awarded the ‘Promising Artist’ Award 2013 by Calcalist and The Yuri Stern Prize for Immigrant Artists for excellence in photography in 2016.

In his photo series 21, 22, 23, which was recently displayed at the 2016 Fresh Paint Fair, Gidon Levin’s images focus on military iconography. The subject is very personal for him; he became very sentimental and obsessive way about capturing his sensations and experiences in the military.

Photo by Gidon Levin
״Memiya” Lamda print 60X40 cm | Photo by Gidon Levin

Levin was a foot soldier in the army and, until today, he regarded this time as his proudest moment. Now, he is finally able to move forward and be proud of his creation, feeling whole with his work. His target audience are people who haven’t been in military environments, to explore the sensations he is describing from his experiences.

Photo by Gidon Levin
“Habama” Lamda print 120X90 cm | Photo by Gidon Levin

At first it started out as something traumatic: this thought-provoking series of photos began as a testament to his memories and personal sensations he experienced during his army service. With time, the photography became therapeutic, he used the art as a form of psychotherapy.

Photo by Gidon Levin
“Untitled” Lamda print 50X40 cm | Photo by Gidon Levin

Today, the series is finally about closure of his experiences in the military. Now he deals with the topic and images from an aesthetic approach, leaving behind that chapter, emphasizing the art form. The narrative of the photography has evolved into something very specific and pin pointed, and less about the overall experience. Gidon uses the photographs to focus on very exact points that make up his memories.

Photo by Gidon Levin
“untitled” Lamda print 120X90 cm | Photo by Gidon Levin

The main objective of putting together these photography exhibitions on the matter was to stop being preoccupied by his experiences and arrive to a point where it would finally be behind him. It’s a very difficult topic for him, but now he is 32, and has been released from duty for a long time. Still, it is only really in now that he has found himself stopping to talk about his experiences and traumas, thereby ‘putting away his experiences in the drawers of his mind.’

Photo by Gidon Levin
“Yahalom” Fine art inkjet print 100X90 cm | Photo by Gidon Levin

As a professional photographer, Levin is a rigid perfectionist. He knows exactly what he wants in each frame and loathes disorder. He wants the subject to be clear and immediate for the viewer.

Gidon Levin
“untitled” Lamda print 25X25 cm | Photo by Gidon Levin

In the photographs, the issues he’s evoking have been simplified to the point that there are almost no military elements, just landscapes.

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“friends#2” Lamda print 80X60 cm Fine art inkjet print | Photo by Gidon Levin

For Gidon Levin, his successes and especially recognition have been deeply important for him, not just for the monetary prize, but for having the State acknowledge his creative work. The governmental recognition of his work with the Yuri Sterner prize denotes it as successful, which is particularly significant because he wasn’t born in Israel and is using his artwork to discuss topics related to the State and the military.