Gabriel Benaim is originally from Panama City, Panama, and now lives and works in Tel Aviv. He studied to be a professional philosopher, but has in the last 8 years devoted himself to photography. His work has recently been featured in solo exhibitions in Zurich's Walter Keller Gallery, as well as in Israel's Ha Midrasha School of Art Gallery. In addition, Benaim has participated in several group exhibitions in Europe and the U.S, and has been published in Photonews Magazine, The Center for Fine Art Photography's Portfolio Showcase, Black and White Magazine and a wide range of online publications. For regular updates on Benaim's work, please visit his blog at www.gabrielbenaim.blogspot.com, or follow him on Facebook or Twitter.
I photograph in order to learn something new about what's in front of me. The process of photographing is, for me, one of discovering visual interest in the myriad forms presented to us, and of overcoming the habits that make our perceptions grow dull. Against Duchamp, I believe in retinal art, and attempt in my work to avoid preconceptions and formulas. For me, the visual is primary, and I expect any work of art, especially my own, to stand on its own visually, without recourse to an intellectual or even conceptual scheme. Following Duchamp, I do see in the Ready-made a paradigm for how one should approach photography, in the sense that photographing creates a new version of an existing subject. The act of framing transposes a commonplace object into a work of art, if done successfully, and this transposition is for me the point of photographing. This, then, to come without preconceptions and leave with a new way of seeing something old, summarizes my approach to photography.
In doing this, every square inch of the photograph is important. I want the viewer of my photographs to explore the whole composition, to take in the inter-relations and tensions inherent in the view I've chosen. In this sense, no part is more important than any other, and where something is placed relative to the frame is more important than what it is. The edges do just as much work, if not more, as the middle, and I pay special attention to what's placed on the edge, to the beginning and the end of the visual space. It is, in large part, this attention to the whole frame which coaxes the viewer, in turn, to navigate from one element to the next, and to then appreciate the visual relationships present.