The photographic and video works of Shai Ignatz are the product of a unique and exclusive relationship he weaves with his subjects. The photographic session – a continued encounters between photographer and photographed, often hidden away from the eyes of the beholder – makes up the space of this interaction. As Ignatz’s works reveal, the photographic session may be a tense situation to be in, however enclosing and protective. Although essentially based on an unequal dialogue, in front of Ignatz’s camera it generates an imagined space where one may reenact a private fantasy.
Ignatz’s works suggest unique answers to enduring questions, both old and new, that are of primary concern to photography: ethical, cultural and political questions pertaining to appearance and visibility. A longer look at them reveals areas of both convergence and variety between their protagonists – such that are often misleading and ambiguous; and as we look at them, we are no longer sure whether it is we who are intruding on them, or them who are pervading us. The tension between the variant and the appearance of variance, and between the similar and the appearance of semblance, has underlined Ignatz’s work throughout the years.