Jewish Filter -“Do I Look Like a Jew?”
My intentions for this project was to demonstrate the absurdity and extremist of racism/ anti-Semitism. The source of the identification of Jews with a big hooked nose, droopy beady dark vicious eyes, large lips, large ears, short hands and legs etc, stems from characterisation of witches and horrid figures (for example: Baba Yaga). This Caricature was personified by anti-Semitic propaganda mainly in the 19th and 20th century. I aim to radicalise and demonstrate the absurdity of determining a Jewish look based on strong negative projection but no real facts. The Instagram’s popularity and its wide spread use of filters allows users to improve/ change/ add to their appearance. Users improve their skin conditions, tone, their eye shape and such, in aspiration for a “flawless” Barbie doll look.
The filter I’ve created challenges both the need to look mainstream “perfect” and to revisit racist concepts. It invited users who may have presumed concept about Jews, even though they have never in reality interacted with Jewish people to challenge ill-founded graphic anti-Semitic concepts and to challenge users ability to look at an “ugly” version of themselves.
My father passed away six years ago. In these photos I am wearing one of my late father’s favorite t shirts/pajamas (from 1988 Jerusalem Film Festival), which was eaten by moths. Moths are known (in different Native American cultures) to be messengers of the dead. They represent death in a spiritual way which leads to regeneration and transformation.
Photographed by Dror Shohet