Tomer Ifrah on Kumbh Mela, Moscow and Israel's only female prison, Neva Tirza

Born in Israel in 1981, Tomer ifrah began photographing documentary stories in 2007, after his first trip to Ethiopia. Since then he become committed to documentary photography, taking on long term projects while addressing social issues and daily life stories. He has won several awards for his documentary work in Israel – representing a variety of issues. Along with working in Israel, Tomer frequently travels around the world for assignments and independent documentary projects. We asked him about his Kumbh Mela, Moscow Metro and Neva Tirza women's prison projects...​

Tomer on Kumbh Mela Nights:

Kumbh Mela is a gathering held once every 12 years in Allahabad, the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Millions of people assemble from all over India and around the world to take part in this Hindu pilgrimage. This series focuses on the individuals rather than the masses. These pictures were photographed between sunset and until midnight on the side roads of the immense compound that is built specifically for the pilgrimage.​​

Tomer on the inspiration behind the project:

In the first few days I was photographing the main events, night and day. Since it’s such a well-photographed event, I was looking for less familiar aspects of this pilgrimage. I noticed that there is this peaceful, magical atmosphere at the camp at night. So in the weeks that came after, I decided to photograph only from sunset and until about midnight.'​

Between 2012-2014, photographer Tomer Ifrah descended beneath the snow-trenched pavements of Moscow to the city’s famous underground system, where he documented the comings and goings of the city’s commuters.

We asked Tomer about the inspiration behind this project.

“These photos are from a three-,month project documenting everyday life in the Moscow metro. The artfully designed stations, many first built in the 1930s, are filled with symbols of the nation’s history. The midst of the Russian winter, people’s style of dress, the soft warm station lights were all inspirations for this project. More than seven million commuters pass through the Moscow metro every day, one of the few places in the city which brings together people from all parts of the society. This project will be a part of a book I am currently working on which will explore everyday life in metro stations of three Post-Soviet countries, published by KAHL Editions in 2018.​​​​​​​​​

Tomer Ifrah captured the bleak, intimate scenes within the walls of Neva Tirza - Israel’s only female prison. Through his attentive lens, we see the solitary, lonely existence of life behind bars. One wrought with deep reflections and painfully intense feelings of longing, frustration and boredom that naturally occur within everyday life inside of a cage.

We asked him about this project, titled ‘Women’s Prison’:

​In 2011 I was sent to Neve Tirza to photograph a portrait of a prisoner for an Israeli magazine. After seeing the prisoners daily life closely, I then wanted to document it as a long term project. After getting the warden’s office permission, I began talking to the prisoners and observing the daily routine inside the prison. Soon after, I began photographing in the different sections of Neve Tirza prison, once or twice a week for about three months.​

You can see more of Tomer's work on his website:

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