(un)Traditional

    (un)Traditional is an exploration of how I can connect my past, as an Orthodox Jew, with my present, as a non-religious person in a media-saturated, anti-traditional environment. In an echo of earlier generations that moved from a primarily rural existence into the cities, my own journey has taken me from the insular Chassidic community into the world of art, literature and sexuality. This transition has left me with questions: How do I connect to my own history, to my first twenty years as an observant Jew? How do I decide which of my earliest values and beliefs to retain and which do I reject? Which are unjust or biased, and which are meaningful and profound?

   In exploring this subject, I began photographing my brother, who looks very similar to me, and who is, like me, androgynous in appearance and behavior. I included myself within these photographs, because both of us struggle with the same issue of trying to define our place within our traditional community. Neither of us fit, and yet both of us want to retain something of the mystery and pleasure of our earlier connection.

©ShternaGoldbloom2015

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