If Wes Anderson wasn’t a film director or a symmetry nazi and featured less teenagers, rather young adults in his films that would be a fragment of Dafy Hagai’s general premise for her
subtly provoking photography.
Hagai is a 29 year old art director and visual communication counselor based out of Tel-Aviv and New York City, but above all a photographer. I sat down with Hagay over a bottle of Tubi 60 (a local Israeli hard liquor) and discussed her art. We discussed photography, Israeli girls -also the name of her newly published book- as the subject matter, the lie of the American dream and armpit hair.
“[I]nitially I picked up a camera to document trips abroad”, suggests Hagai from the other side of the broken benches found at Tel-Aviv’s nomadic bar “Teder”. Her photography radiates with that lonesome feeling you get on a family trip, as presented below.
Hagai’s work is a representation of the fragments of 90s fashion in the current 21st century which we are living in, there’s a feeling of less narcissism in her documentation of teenagers and young adults through the medium of photography. “I went to my old high school to scout for girls, some of them I met on the street and bars or social media.” “Israeli Girls” features a handful of aesthetically pleasing girls and women that aren’t pro models. Hagay was looking for the girls who are “naturally” beautiful or in her words “grasp the non-model look”. The models in her project don’t go through a daily ritual of applying make up to be confident and their natural gaze speaks it.
“I grew up in the 90s when teenagers got superstar status, a lot of my influence came from Larry Clark who has the suburbia aesthetics in his films, the boredom of suburbia.”
The project got a lot of different responses ranging from a social critique about the absence of Palestinian girls. Furthermore some commenters had a aesthetic problem with some of the models’ body hair. If you have haters you are doing something right is what I was told by a university professor and Dafy’s book has been a success on several world known publications.