It’s impossible not to smile when looking at Eitan Bernat’s portraits of Israeli celebrity fathers with their sons.
These 40 striking black-and-white photos capture in a moment the special and sometimes complex connection between male parents and children.
They are on exhibit in the Tel Aviv suburb of Holon, in the plaza outside the Israeli Cartoon Museum, from July 23 to October 9.
Curated by Rafael Vazana — director of the Culture and Art Department in the Holon municipality and father of a son named Jonathan — the exhibit features some men whose faces are well known in Israel.
Here’s soccer legend Yaakov Buzaglo and his grown sons Asi, Maor and Almog.
Here is 2018 CrossFit national champion David Ben David with his son, Michael, and Olympic judoka Oren Smadja with sons Rom and Omer.
We see TV, film and fashion show producer Motty Reif and his son Omri; and director and model Lev Racin and son Tommy.
The exhibition also includes a portrait of Rabbi Avigdor Chayut and his son Shmuel. This one is particularly poignant because they are survivors of the Meron tragedy in northern Israel on April 30. Chayut’s 13-year-old son, Yedidya, was killed in the stampede, while he was hospitalized with injuries.
Bernat photographed his former mentor, renowned Israeli photographer Ronen Akerman with his father. For this shoot, he used the first camera that Akerman’s father gave him as a gift.
He said his relationship with his own father faltered as their values and ambitions clashed, but a father-son trip to Romania in 2017 revived their connection. Soon afterwards, Bernat’s father was diagnosed with a terminal illness.
In his photographs, Bernat sought to “capture the strong spiritual bond of a father and son, to recall the sense of the enveloping and protective paternal gaze and to emphasize that the bond is not severed even when father and son are physically distant.”
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