On my recent trip to Israel, I came in contact with the work of Adi Ness, an internationally known Israeli photographer that shows with Sommer Gallery in Tel Aviv. As a gay male, Nes often incorporates Israeli men, soldiers and the essence of masculinity in his work, though claims that the homoerotic element found in his work is never intentional. "It simply happens - it's part of my identity. I don't think I make them erotic; I think that the eros in the pictures is like the eros in culture. It comes out from inside without meaning to." Nes says that for many, Israeli identity can be reduced to two questions: "What did you do in the army, and where are you from? In that order." Such priorities preclude recognition of his own homosexual identity. There is a definite erotic visual tension in Adi's photographs, portraying the skin of naked bodies, muscular forms with near theatrical light… and then of course there is his own rendition of the 'The Last Supper', comprised entirely of Israeli soldiers, which I can't help but adore.
Thank you to Vibe Israel / Kinetics for the invitation to travel to Israel on behalf of Juxtapoz, making it possible for me to encounter and experience the work of countless, talented, visual Israeli artists.
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