Travel the world through this photographer's lens
Atalia Katz brings the world a little bit closer through her striking images.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, Atalia Katz has a visual vocabulary that speaks volumes. As a freelance photographer whose work has appeared in print, online and in her own books and gallery shows, Katz travels the world, capturing people, places and cultures from Ethiopia to Antarctica to Papua New Guinea with her camera.
“Reality has many different angles and perspectives, and through photography, I want to present and focus on what I see, how I see it and want to showcase it,” Katz told From The Grapevine. “Photography enables me to search for the distinctive and for what exists under the surface, immortalizing a particular moment which will never return.”
Katz, who was the vice president of a development and construction company before she took up photography professionally 10 years ago, dabbled in it as a hobby in her youth in Haifa, Israel, when she’d take black-and-white images with her Canon film camera and develop them herself. “I became inspired once I realized that a photo was a mode of expression for me, a way of bringing out my inner self, for myself and those around me,” she said.
Using Leica digital equipment these days, she shoots in both black and white and color. “The moment and the light are actually the deciding factors – they are what guide me. My favorite lenses are wide-angled. I work with spatial perception: the individual within his/her environment."
Her favorite subjects? “People reflect culture and that's what stimulates me,” Katz said. “I shoot my surroundings. I love challenges and observing different cultures. This motivates me to photograph the things that excite me. Nothing beats nature.”
She was drawn to the far-flung places she visited for different reasons. “Antarctica is, first and foremost, about the wonders of creation. Papua New Guinea is currently in the early hunter-gatherer stage of its culture, which is so different to ours. Fascinating.” As for Ethiopia, “Curiosity led me there. I just fell in love with the people and wanted to bring them to light.
“At that moment when a person finds himself in a place with a completely foreign culture, the camera becomes a tool which can help them to approach it,” continued Katz, who endeavors to reveal “the person behind the mask – the inner self” in her images.
Although the divorced grandmother moved to New York, where she connected to the city’s “diversity and rhythm,” she spends a lot of time in Israel, where her parents and grown children live, and she enjoys photographing her surroundings. “Israel is a diverse country. From north to south there is a colorful medley of scenery and people, so there is a myriad of subjects, from cranes in the Hula Valley to the silent Dead Sea,” Katz says.
To date, she has exhibited her work in Africa, New York, Denver, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. She’s working on a book about Italian industrial designer Achille Castiglioni while preparing a gallery show about Papua New Guinea, titled “The Proud Male.”
Katz, who also teaches holistic healing and reflexology, is involved in “a variety of philanthropic work, using the language of photography as a tool. One of my projects is to work with Israeli school students and to put on exhibitions showing Israel through their eyes.”
Her list of places to visit and photograph is a long one. “The world is a huge place and there's so much I want to see. Sometimes I make plans but fate gets in the way and the to-do list changes. For example, I was scheduled to travel to Kyrgyzstan, but then I broke my shoulder,” Katz confided, but it won’t slow her down for long. “I love using photography to display, to highlight and to focus. It's an incredibly satisfying vocation.”
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