As Israeli photographer Erieta Attali explains, her childhood world was saturated with ruins, spending her early years in Tel Aviv and Istanbul, then moving to Athens when she was 13. Her studies and career have taken her all over the world, from Athens to London to New York City and finally to Melbourne.
While in her early days she focused on ruins and remains of buildings in Greece and Turkey, when she was invited to photograph contemporary architecture for the Greek entry in the Milano Triennale in 1995, her career transitioned.
“My photographic realm of isolation, aridness and traces, seemed irreconcilable with the iconic and often glossy language of architecture photography,” she said. “It turned out however, that there was no need for reconciliation; the same conceptual framework that I had employed for ruins, allowed me to interpret architecture as an element of the landscape.”
Now, she is part of In Translation at the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, which explores the relationship between photographer and architect, investigating the role of photography in articulating a sense of space and place.
It’s something that Attali certainly appreciates. “I have strived to develop a visual language where the separation between the content (man-made structure) and context (natural or urban) is blurred, and the relationship between the two inverted,” she explained.
“Man-made structures are always situated in an environment: a natural, urban or even abstract landscape that keeps evolving. Awareness of that context not only provides us with information and a better understanding of the photographed object, but also a glimpse into the natural forces that affect it and might have shaped its original conception.”
Her photography has taken her to amazing landscapes including the Atacama Desert in Chile, Cappadocia in Turkey, the Arctic region of Norway and the Blue Mountains in Australia. She says that some of the most special photography she’s done has been documenting the city of Paris through 2020 while locked down due to COVID.
Attali joins three other leading contemporary photographers for In Translation – Lard Buurman, Rory Gardiner and John Gollings.
For more information about the Ballarat International Foto Biennale, visit ballaratfoto.org