Gili Benita is an Israeli documentary photographer based in Jerusalem. He was born in Jerusalem in 1997 and raised in Tsur Hadassah, a small town near Jerusalem. He studied film in The Jerusalem high school of arts and served in the army, as a cinematographer in the air force film unit. In his service, he was involved with cinematic psychological war films and training films.
His first engagement with still photography was in 2014 when he started his 365 days of photography project.
Since 2016 Gili is mainly focused on long-term documentary projects, both in Israel and overseas.
Kodoku – 孤独
In February 2018, I traveled to Japan for a two-month journey, to explore the Japanese culture of being alone and its encounter with my own sense of feeling alone. In a country where thousands of people die alone each year without anyone noticing, loneliness reaches its most extreme form. In my journey, I was able to find the difference between loneliness and solitude, and the positive presence of the existence of personal individualism. In the series of photographs that I took, I tried to photograph myself and my alone through other people, passersby in the space of Japan.
In a busy reality of unending work, when personal life seems to be pushed aside, loneliness takes on a more significant place. The physical distance, the fear of being hurt and the fear of intimacy only perpetuate that feeling of loneliness. At one point, it seemed that some Japanese were using the symptoms of loneliness as a defense mechanism that, while working, immortalize their sense of loneliness. In spite of all this, the sense of Japanese loneliness has become fogged in my consciousness with a sense of solitude, which is perceived as more positive. Among all those Japanese that assimilated into each other, it was very noticeable to see the uniqueness that blossoms from everyone. The color, the minimalist aesthetics, and the beauty of the simple things were very visible to each person in a different way.
The characters I chose to photograph, were for me a mirror for myself. They helped me to figure out the thin line between solitude and loneliness. Looking at those stranger characters and finding a sense of identification from a distant place, inspired me to express the sense of feeling alone in a place where allows it, where other people feel like me. Especially in the loneliest place, I did not feel alone anymore.
To view more of Gili Benita’s work please visit his website.