Ruti Sela works with moments of life, video camera, video editing, and gallery projection. Against the backdrop of social antagonism she creates everyday situations, of which she and her camera form a part. Though at first sight her videos take the form of documentaries, in fact they are not. The creator of “constructed situations, i.e. moments of life, a concretely and deliberately constructed game of events” is not concealed, neutral, objective or impartial in the video recording. She is always visually and physically present, one of the actors, sometimes the main character. She does not represent the universal (documentary), but always the specific subject acting in a given time and space. The same goes for her camerawork. The camera – a means of “recording”, but one that within an artistic environment, thanks to editing and the status of the art work, becomes a means of controlling the image, a way of exercising power over its subjects – is frequently to be seen. In repose and in action. Ruti Sela offers access to the everyday and constructed event and to the far from self-evident conflict of forces, persons, approaches and identities. In the interaction of these elements she stimulates and is interested in the opposing, antagonistic impulses of the actions of actors. Let’s chat about killing and the loss of human rights in the army before sexual foreplay. We’ll see just how capable students are of resistance when their teacher subjects them to genuine bullying…

Mitch Epstein (born 1952) is among America’s finest contemporary photographers. Two of the most powerful series upon which his reputation rests are Recreation (1973-1988) and American Power (2003), sequences that attempt to make fundamental statements about the U.S. by scrutinizing how its citizens spend their leisure and how its energy industry operates. This publication examines the development of Epstein’s work through the example of these two very different series. Recreation exemplifies traditional American street photography in its sometimes ironized depiction of everyday circumstances, where American Power critiques the energy industry and its interventions in nature in much bolder gestures–cooling towers and oil refineries dominate the picture frame, riding roughshod over all rules of proportion and dwarfing anything in their vicinity. Here, in 80 color images selected from these series, Epstein’s development is traced, from major protagonist of the American color photography boom to leading commentator on the state of the nation.

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