Israel was the first country that Lillie Eiger ever stepped foot in aside from her native United States. Until then she had rejected religion despite, admittedly somewhat reluctantly, studying Hebrew for eight years as a child. Experiencing the country’s sense of national pride, tradition and community changed all that as she soon realised that there was more to Judaism than she’d experienced at school.
In July she returned and, inspired by the culture, natural beauty and people she saw, decided to document a lesser seen side of the country. Eiger’s photos aren’t necessarily an attempt to move away from traditional media narrative of political tensions but they do underline that there’s another side to the story. Her images of the Shuks of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv capture the cities in all their life, colour and vibrancy but during her stay she inevitably also got a sense of the racial tensions that divide the area. It was the colour, richness and diversity of the country that really captured her imagination, though.
“It's easy and exciting to politicise a country and a group of people but harder to talk about the grey areas”, she said. “I knew from my first trip that it was a beautiful country full of beautiful people; the images were my way to document the everyday life I witnessed and experience the beauty of the land and the intersections of culture there”.
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