Photographed between 2011-2017, “Shikun-Ella” by Daniel Rolider is a story about the place that first taught the photographer what home, family, love and solitude mean to him.
When Rolider was 12 years old his family moved to Shikun-Ella, a rural neighborhood in northern Israel. For the next seven years, Rolider photographed his mother and her partner as they built a life together in their new home halfway between the Medditeranean Sea and Nazareth, where the last rays of sun painted the fields gold before disappearing behind Carmel Mountan. He carried his camera with him as the saplings gave way to trees and as he, his siblings, and their friends moved on from toys to beers.
But for Rolider, “Shikun-Ella” is more than a series about the sweet air and landscape of his youth. It’s an “insight into a different version of Israel,” he tells PDN via email. “It’s not about the political situation, Jerusalem or Gaza…it’s a testimony to a different way of life that exists in parallel to the constant conflict about land.” In sharp contrast to media coverage of the country’s struggles and their emotional toll on the people of Israel and their neighbors, Rolider hopes the series will transmit the same feelings of “belonging, familiarity, calmness and peacefulness” he felt when he took them.
The biggest obstacles Rolider faced while creating “Shikun-Ella” were understanding how his experiences in the rural landscape shaped his development and recognizing what the photographs meant in a larger and more global sense.
Rolider says “Shikun-Ella” is more “intuitive and personal” than other projects he’s worked on. “I didn’t spend days doing research about the place and culture because they were mine,” he tells PDN. In addition to playing an important role in Rolider’s path to adulthood, “Shikun-Ella” has also been central to his growth as a photographer. “This work taught me what a sense of belonging and closeness to my subjects feels like,” he says. “I’m trying to bring that feeling to the projects I’m working on today.”
By Daniel Rolider
Shikun-Ella will part of “Guangdong 21st Century Maritime Silk Road International Expo 2019” from August 23-26, 2019, at the Baiyun International Convention Center in Guangzhou, China.