New York Photo Review
NYPR Archives - 2010

Rina Castelnuovo
Moments from Israel
Rina Castelnuovo, “Mea Shearim, Jerusalem”, 2008

There are a number of memorable “moments” in this powerful exhibition by Rina Castelnuovo who has been photographing Israel for The New York Times since the mid-1990s and for Time magazine, Stern and the Associated Press since the 1980s. The most shocking one is easily her 2009 photograph entitled “Hebron Wine Spill” that shows an Israeli settler throwing a glass of wine at a Palestinian woman passing him on the sidewalk, the red wine caught in mid-air. It’s not the kind of event normally associated with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but it instantly conveys another side of its ugliness. The photo recently won an award and was also widely republished by the Arab press. It’s easy to see why.

In another image, Castelnuovo captures the emotions felt by a group of young Israeli soldiers as they mourn the loss of one of their own in the fighting in the Gaza strip. Every soldier’s face speaks to you. Castelnuovo has the ability to capture the human side of this conflict while telling a story. Another good example is the photograph of a bride in her wedding dress walking away from an Israeli tank on the Gaza border. The backstory was that she had asked the soldiers to stop firing artillery during her wedding ceremony. These are not typical news photos—they’re art.

What helps Castelnuovo communicate so effectively is her many years of experience in Israel and her deep cultural understanding of her subject. She also has an eye for the moment that matters; maybe it’s Cartier-Bresson updated for the 21st century. In any case, this is an exhibition that has its moments, some better than others for sure, but all certain to convey a clearer understanding of how some Israelis and Palestinians are living today

 by unidentified photographer.
Rina Castelnuovo, “Nilin, West Bank, 2009”

What helps Castelnuovo communicate so effectively is her many years of experience in Israel and her deep cultural understanding of her subject. She also has an eye for the moment that matters; maybe it’s Cartier-Bresson updated for the 21st century. In any case, this is an exhibition that has its moments, some better than others for sure, but all certain to convey a clearer understanding of how some Israelis and Palestinians are living today

Rina Castelnuovo
Moments from Israel


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