Alexander Bronfer spent many years photographing the west coast of the Dead Sea to capture the magical atmosphere of the place, peaceful and unsettling at the same time.
Bronfer was born in the Soviet Union, in present-day Ukraine, studied in St Petersburg, then worked in Lithuania for a few years after graduation before moving to Israel. There he fell in love with the Dead Sea region. But what makes it so special? “It’s very hard to define, but there is something mysterious about the place. That’s why people have been coming here for thousands of years. There are only two places where I feel this eternal power: Jerusalem and the Dead Sea,” Bronfer said. The Bible also calls it the Sea of Arabah (meaning steppe or desert in Hebrew—the Transl.) because of its lifeless, barren environment, and the Salt Sea because of its high salt content.
Bronfer’s photographic method and vision—inspired by artists such as Boris Savelev, David Alan Harvey, and Alfred Stieglitz—lie somewhere between street and fine art photography. He is not trying to capture moments but rather encapsulate his personal feelings. “I photograph what I love, I work in an open way. If someone doesn’t like what I do, I just stop.”
The images show people of different cultures and religions coming together to enjoy the benefits of the Dead Sea, often floating for hours in the highly saline water. At the same time, the photographs are also documents of a vanishing world. “The Dead Sea is receding by more than a meter every year, and hundreds of new sinkholes are forming in the area. It is a really sad story.” However, while he can, the artist himself also likes to take a dip in the lake: “It’s a wonderful experience, especially in springtime.”
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