Elinor Carucci was born in Jerusalem in 1971 and attended the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design for photography. She has had solo shows all over the world including at Edwynn Houk Gallery, Ricco Maresca, Moscow House of Photography and Gagosian Gallery in London. Her photographs are included in collections such as, The Museum of Modern Art, ICP, The Houston Museum of Fine Art and The Brooklyn Museum. Her work as been shown in publications including The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, W, Aperture, and ARTnews. She was awarded the International Center of Photography’s Infinity Award for Young Photographers in 2001 and the Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002. Carucci has published two monographs to date – Closer and Diary of a Dancer. Most recently, her work has been shown at the Museum of Modern Art in the exhibition Pictures by Women. She currently lives in New York City and teaches at the graduate program at the School of Visual Arts.
Elinor Carucci has spent the past 20 years photographing herself and the people in her life that she is closest to. In this new series, Born, she turns her attention to the newest members of her family, her children. Carucci’s photographs have an intimacy that is startling, at times even unsettling, but they are so ultimately about the collective human experience with family, and so beautifully seen, that the viewer cannot help but find resonance between their own experience and the personal experience that Carucci is sharing.
Many of the scenes portrayed in these images are high-strung with the emotions of family interdependence and routine: insatiable need and early childhood sorrow, a mother’s hollow eyed fatigue, bodily bruises, fluids, and scars. The drama of these fraught domestic scenes is heightened by Carucci’s nuanced use of shadows, black backgrounds, direct light and extreme close-ups. Carucci has always photographed the substance of her daily life, the joy and the pain in equal measure, and in this new series we are again being pulled close, always closer, to witness, almost participate in, the particularities of family intimacy.
Het centrale thema van haar werk is ‘nabijheid’: mensen die je lief zijn, ouders, echtgenoot, kinderen. Nabijheid moet je in dit geval heel letterlijk opvatten. Iemand op de huid zitten, maar dan in positieve betekenis.
In een lang interview met fotografe Sabine Mirlesse van La lettre de la Photografie reageerde ze op deze vraag:
Everyone in your pictures seems to be available to showing their vulnerability and I think that probably for a lot of people coming to your work, that that is something that truly sets it apart from perhaps a lot of other people who photograph their families—your parents are really letting their guard down for you—in ways that many people’s parents would never let them come so close with a camera, no matter how emotionally close they were—
Elinor Carucci: No, of course, it has nothing to do with how much you love each other—it’s about the person’s personality– but also don’t forget it’s also about a difference in culture… the Israeli culture at least in the physical side is so much part of this. I mean, it is my parents’ generosity, but its also not such big deal to walk around the house in your underwear in Israel. So some of it doesn’t seem that crazy there because it’s part of the ease you have with the body as opposed to America.
Sabine Mirlesse: But regarding this level of ease or comfort in one’s own skin, or relationship to the body, I mean there are certain images that move a step beyond just walking around the house in your underwear, that possess a certain drama to them, I think for example of an image of your mother crouching nude in a bathtub, or you appearing naked before your father—to what degree are those perhaps more intense images performances?
Elinor Carucci: Nudity among women is very common in Israel. So for me, I didn’t feel like I was pushing my limits to be photographed in the nude with the women in my family and it was really a surprise for me to come to America and find out that some women have never seen their own mothers naked. That’s weird! With my father… I don’t know if it was a performance, but there was something about bringing the camera and photographing—I think there is an image where I am only in my underwear— so I am bare-chested– or how do you call it? …topless I guess– next to him, and I felt that I wanted to see what it looks like for me to sit next to my father like this. So I did feel like it was something that I didn’t necessarily do for the camera, but that once the camera was there it enhanced the situation, and that there was some embarrassment about this moment that I wanted to explore.
De vanzelfsprekendheid van de lijfelijke aanwezigheid wil ze duidelijk delen zonder ze daarom te isoleren van het dagelijkse leven. Het vraagt even geduld misschien, of het begrijpen van aangeleerde en opgedrongen gêne om de openheid van haar camera-oog te aanvaarden temidden van de pruderie die ook in deze streken weer opgang heeft gemaakt.
De Sasha Wolf Gallery in NY bundelt haar werk.