Our one hundredth and third interview in this series of intimate interviews is with talented mobile photographer Efrat Sela from Israel, you may know of her from her popular Instagram account @efratsela. Sela says “my camera is a tool that enriches my life, sharpens my vision and helps me see what I would otherwise not see”. As a street, culture and documentary photographer, Sela is fascinated by the human experience and explains that she ‘searches for man’s interaction within society and culture’, as you will see within the images below. Enjoy!
To read the other published interviews in this series including artists, Adria Ellis, Rino Rossi, Mehmet Duyulmus, Alexis Rotella, Lou Ann Sanford Donahue, Irene Oleksiuk, Kerry Mitchell, Filiz Ak, Dale Botha, M. Cecilia Sao Thiago, Deborah McMillion, Rita Colantonio, Amy Ecenbarger, Jane Schultz, Anca Balaj, Joyce Harkin, Armineh Hovanesian, Kate Zari Roberts, Vicki Cooper, Peter Wilkin, Barbara Braman, Becky Menzies, Sukru Mehmet Omur, Sarah Bichachi, Michel Pretterklieber, Alon Goldsmith, Judy Lurie Wahlberg, Andrea Bigiarini, Sean Hayes, Oola Cristina, Kathleen Magner-Rios Linda Toki, Deb Field, Emilo Nadales, Lydia Cassatt, David Hayes, Jean Hutter, Frederic Deschênes, Mark Schnidman, Fatma Korkut, Fleur Schim, Rob Pearson-Wright, Dieter Gaebel, James Ellis, Marco P Prado, Jeronimo Sanz, Manuela Matos Monteiro, Bleu Chemiko, Manuela Basaldella, Stefania Piccioni, Luis Rodríguez, Marilisa Andriani(@mitrydate) Mayte Balcells (@artofmayte), Nicole Christophe, Jennifer Graham, Cathrine HalsørPaul Toussaint, Carol Wiebe, Julie Denning, Kim Clayton (@berleyart), Karen Messick, Serap Utaş, MaryJane Rosenfeld, Paul Suciu, Susan Latty (@pause.and.breathe),John Nieto, Phyllis Shenny, Joy Barry, Max Lies Derdonk, Rita Tipunina, Violet Martins, Nizzar Ben Chekroune, Lynette Sheppard, Paul-Andre Hamel, Rejane Rubino, Susan Detroy, Rosalie Heller, Wayman Stairs, Cintia Malhotra, Anita Elle, Juta Jazz, Cheryl Tarrant, Hanni König Kaoru Shintaku David Gilbert Jana Curcio, Mary Lorincz Amado Ergana, Francesco Sambati, Philip Parsons, Kathryn Garkut Massimo Bortolini Camilla Crescini Francesca Malagoli Sidonie Petit Dirk Fleischmann, Fiona Christian, Alastair Hooley Juliet Morris Lisa Cirenza and myself, go here.
What was your earliest childhood ambition?
I was an athletic girl. I competed in athletics, with very good results, but I found that I do not enjoy competition. I enjoy athletics, primarily cycling, but without competing against others. Instead, I always try to improve and surpass my own performance.
At the end of my first year in Design study at university, I was invited to design a product as a present for the university president, who was finishing his service. The academy paid for that work. I felt honored and excited. I think that was my first recognition. Someone bought my art, my creation.
After I finished my Army service, I was a flight attendant. I have very good memories of that time, traveling and discovering the world, being exposed to different cultures.
Private or state school?
In Israel, we do not have many private schools. When I was young, we had even fewer choices so I never gave much thought to this. I went to public (state) school and sent my son to public school. I think good public schools are important to give a fair chance to every kid.
University or work?
In Israel, we all go into the army after high school, so in a sense we all work before university. My university years, studying Design and Art, taught me to think critically, to learn about history, and to investigate. We need to understand the past in order to rise for the future.
Who was or is still your mentor?
I have many mentors. In many aspect of life, private or professional I love to get a good advice and to be inspired. I cannot point only one.
How physically fit are you?
I am in excellent shape; I am a road cyclist, training with a group. I wake up very early, before the sun, and start the day full of energy.
Ambition or talent: What matters more to success?
This is a very hard question; the best of course is a combination of both. I know some talented people that virtually no one knows, and some very famous people who have less artistic talent but who possess a great talent for self-promotion. First, we need to define what success is. I personally believe in talent and prefer quality to quantity.
How politically committed are you?
I do not see myself as political activist, but I see common humanity in all people, which can seem political at times. I photographed a Bedouin village that the government had decided to evacuate and this has caused severe problems for the Bedouins. I have been to the village many times with my camera. This evacuation is a very big political issue. I choose a side and found myself in politically and militarily tense situations.
What would you like to own that you do not currently possess?
A balance in life, balance in all what I am interested, in all my activity, in my work and private life. I am in a time of changes and I long for balance.
What ambitions do you still have?
Never stop to do what I like, to keep moving forward.
In which places are you happiest?
My happiest moments are when I manage to disconnect from the pressures of work, family, and the craziness of the world and I am looking at life through my camera.
What drives you on?
Passion and curiosity.
What is the greatest achievement in your life so far?
My son, he is my beloved project. Then, I think, helping a women named Svetlana. I photographed her as a documentary project, but in the process, I helped her to save herself from her drug addiction and likely death. Today she live a healthy and happy life, and I am very proud of her.
What do you find most irritating in other people?
When people lie to escape the truth and choose not to face the truth.
If your 20-year-old self could see you now, what would he think?
I think she would be surprised and proud. Surprised because I live a life that was not in my first plan, and proud, because I do what I want and feel good with it.
Which object that you have lost do you wish you had still had?
My first film Canon camera, which was stolen from me three years ago.
What is the greatest challenge of our time?
To find the balance I am looking for, it is not easy at all.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
No, I think we have one chance to enjoy life, and be. After life, everything disappears.
If you had to rate your satisfaction with your life so far, out of 10, what would you score?
I can only say for this moment as my life is changing all the time for many reasons. These days I am very pleased, so I say eight. I enjoy what I am doing, I love the people who surround me, including my amazing kitty that is constantly near me.
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