Photographs taken in 1978 by photographer Yàakov Shofar portray teenage boys from Katamon Tet, an impoverished Mizrahi Jerusalem neighbourhood. The boys playfully perform for the camera. In one photo, a boy pretends to choke his friend, who uses his body and face to express pain comically. Photographs from this session appeared in Shofar’s photography books Finding a Way Out (1981) and Born in Israel (1984), addressed as a socially engaged practice, reflecting the time's developments in photography. This study aims to reveal the politicization of the photographed youth following social and political occurrences in Katamon Tet, which are unmentioned in the books, and to show that these were pivotal in shaping the images. Drawing on interviews and employing Tina Campt’s term, “The Black Gaze,” I suggest that the boys’ performance reacts to what Shofar represented–a socially privileged outsider. Basing my arguments on debates on photography and imagination, I underscore how the boys’ gestures confront the imagined gaze of the hegemony and reclaim mainstream stereotypes of Mizrahi masculinity. The theatricality of the boys’ performance is situated in relation to the Ohel Yosef community theatre in Katamon Tet, from which various forms of politicized Mizrahi protest emerged.
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- community theatre
- Katamon Tet
- Mizrahi masculinity
- Ohel Yosef
- Yàakov Shofar
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cultural Studies
- Sociology and Political Science
- Political Science and International Relations