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JACOB ELBAZ BIOGRAPHY
REFUGEE.LIFE.LENS

Jacob was born in 1943 or so in Meknes, Morocco. He immigrated with his family, consisting of 14 people to Israel in 1953 and shortly thereafter came with his brother, Shlomo to Kibbutz Sde Nehemia as part of “Chevrat Noar” organization As Jacob grew up he was educated in the ways of agriculture and Israel and is a proud Zionist to this day. 

 

The kibbutz has educated the boys and girls mainly to work the land and become “tzabars”. Jacob, who had learning disability and ADD, spent most of his time outside of school and in fact, never finished elementary school. After his military service as a paratrooper in Battalion 50 of the Nahal, he returned to the kibbutz and worked as a farmer and as a driver for the Upper Galilee cooperative. Later he was part of the group who founded the Kurazim settlement, which later became the community population – Almagor.

 

At the age of 20, Jacob bought his first camera, and in the winter 1963 a photo taken by him was published on the title page the weekend supplement of the newspaper "Yediot Ahronot". Thus began his professional career in photography. In 1972 he flew own his own to Toronto, Canada, and worked there for several years as a freelance photographer in the "Canadian Jewish news". In 1973 he won first prize in a photography competition on the subject of Israel.

While working in Toronto, Jacob opened his own printing and framing business.  This led to his becoming an art dealer and then evolved into the opening of his first art gallery.  In the mid-1970’s Jacob moved to New York and opened his second gallery in the Soho district of New York, where he worked until 2008.  For almost twenty years, while running the galleries, Jacob put his photography on hold.

Jacob never studied photography or art and all his professional life led by just gut feelings and intuition. Dealing with art is first and foremost a way of life for him, and he was drawn to this business out of love and passion for art and the people doing it. However, Jacob is always striving for balance between the commercial aspects and the artistic ones, and sees great value in the sale of art and not just the presentation of it, as it reflects the balance that exists in real life.

Starting from the sixties to the present, Jacob is photographing and documenting his surroundings, the streets of New York and Israel. The camera lens is a bridge which through it he communicates with the world, creating connections with people who later become clients and friends.

This collection presents a selection of works created between 1970 and 2014, when most of them were shot on film. This body of work showcases different historical and social moments and in the same time manages to capture the essence of Jacob's unique point of view on the world.