In his works, Assaf Shaham explores the complex field of photography on various levels. In our era of hyper–technology we are oversaturated with a barrage of images on a daily basis, and the ubiquity of photography is evidenced in the photo-taking capabilities of even the most primitive cellphone. In the midst of this tumult, Shaham’s questions and ideas suggest a rare self-reflection about his place and the significance of his work within the locus of his field. He investigates his concerns with the ontological status of the medium, its technical boundaries, and the photographer’s unique position as an artist.
In his artist’s statement, Shaham writes: “When we look at a photograph, we are often left with only the photographic object; the act of photography is almost never present. I try to activate an inverted mechanism, one which aspires to empty the object from its original meaning and from what it symbolizes, one which leaves the object as a facade. A mechanism which will actually put the act of photography itself and its manners of production into the spotlight.”
With this in mind, we can interpret Shaham’s artistic practice as the last act of despair, protest, or hope in trying to embody the inner and outer levels of photography before its rapid disappearance into everyday triviality and the inevitable erosion of its deeper significance.
by Dr. Aya Lurie. She is an art historian, chief curator, and manager of exhibitions and collection of Shpilman Institute for Photography.