last night i said good-bye to any extraordinary group of young women. i’m really bad at good-byes and wish i could have better conveyed my feelings…
it all began in january when i had a unique opportunity to peek within the usually-closed doors of a hostel for young women in distress, as part of a documentary photography project. a professional staff, loving and supportive, helps the girls find inner strengths to cope with their past. but more important, the girls learn to look to their future, soberly and optimistically. these young women have been to hell. in spite of their past, with great courage, they cope and are successful, each on her own, and all twelve together. they have found employment and go out to work. some are completing 12 years of schooling and matriculation tests. they cooperate and share responsibility for mandatory tasks in the hostel. their path is not easy. loneliness, despair, pain and sorrow are always part of the process. but, with a caress, a cuddle and a kiss they console and strengthen each other and overcome together. through stills photography i try to convey to the observer the great emotion and excitement i felt during the period i spent with them. i try to visually tell the binding story of an extraordinary group of young women in a hostel.
this six-month project has ripened and matured into what i hope will be a very successful exhibition, “in spite of!”, opening this week at the prestigious jerusalem theatre for six weeks.
having received from the girls their cooperation and devotion for six months, their faith and love, i have come to respect and admire them and i am very grateful for their willingness to share with me from within their souls. but last night, at a summary meeting at the hostel, they thanked me. they thanked me for caring, for respecting them, for providing a visual voice to speak of their achievements. to educate the public and crack stereotypes. they thanked me for teaching them that not all men are created equal – there are those without intentions of harm. strangers who care. they thanked me for helping them realize the extent of their achievements and success.
… and i found it so difficult to say good-bye.