PURSUING THE DREAM
IN CONVERSATION WITH SHARON EILON
Sharon Eilon is an Israeli based photographer and an algorithms engineer by profession. Following a health crisis, Sharon went through a life-changing journey after seeking treatment in India. After returning home healthy, she decided to pursue her dream and learn photography. Since then Sharon has been fascinated by the world of photography, reflecting the human spirit through her shutter. For Sharon, the act of photography has a meditative quality, making her feeling unified with the world around her at the present moment.
Tell us a bit about yourself. How did you become interested in photography?
I was born and raised in Israel. In my daily job I am an algorithms engineer. A few years ago, I went through a major health crisis that led me to seek medical treatment in India. After a period of four months alone in India, away from my family and kids, I came back home healthy and with a deep sense of gratitude for getting my life back. This healing journey was also very spiritual for me and changed me in many ways. I decided to make my dream come true and started a basic photography course. Since then, for the past two years, I have been regularly studying photography in various courses and schools. Photography has become my true passion, my way of observing the world, my way of expressing myself.
How have the streets and culture you capture influence your photography? How have your captures changed the way you see Israel?
I am inherently drawn to photographing in the streets. Soon after I started photographing, I realised that my photos almost always include a human being in the frame. Street photography and culture photography became my main areas of interest. I am fascinated by people, by human activities and especially by human interactions. The Israeli society is a multi-sector split society, and this is one of its major challenges. Through my photography I feel I can see beyond the rifts between us and instead look further into our common ground.
I appreciate the richness of the Israeli society and see its beautiful facets everywhere I am photographing.
Talk to us about your series 'Church of the Holy Sepulchre' that you have submitted? What do you want the viewer to experience and take away with them?
This is a story of a very special place, the 'Church of the Holy Sepulchre' is located in the old city of Jerusalem. The site of the church is widely believed to be the place of both the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The church has long been a major pilgrimage center for Christians from all around the world. For me as a Jewish person, visiting this place is more of a spiritual experience rather than a religious one. I wish the viewer would feel what I feel when I enter this place: a reverent silence, a sense of childlike wonder, marveling at the holy atmosphere this place encapsulates.
*Editor's note - Read Sharon's story HERE on the website.
Do you ever get burnt out creatively? Explain how you keep the creative energy flowing.
For me, strolling the streets of big cities always evokes visual creativity. I walk with an open awareness to the people and situations around me and find interesting characters and stories on the fly.
What are some tips/advice you would give yourself if you started photography all over again?
It is hard for me to answer this question, as I consider myself to be at the beginning of my photography journey. However, I can borrow one important tip that one of my photography teachers told us in the opening lesson of the course. She said: "In art, there are no mistakes, only opportunities."
Do you have any favourite artists/photographers?
So many… but I will try to name a few photographers whose work I particularly admire: Martin Parr, Elliott Erwitt, Vivian Maier, Mary Ellen Mark, Joel Meyerowitz, Alex Webb, Richard Avedon and of course Henri Cartier-Bresson.
If you could just choose one photographer to shoot alongside for a day... who would you choose? And why?
I think it would be Martin Parr. I love his way of documenting the leisure aspect of life in England. He manages to convey a whole range of emotions (and often contradicting ones) in his bright and colorful frames.
When you are out shooting - how much of it is instinctual versus planned?
I must admit that currently my way of shooting is more instinctual. But as I grow, I learn that many frames at different locations would benefit a more planned approach. Each approach had its own advantages, but the true wisdom is to use both and choose the approach that best suits the current moment.
Does the equipment you use help you in achieving your vision in your photography? (What camera do you use? Do you have a preferred lens/focal length?)
I am using a mirrorless SONY Alpha a7 III camera, and I admire its impressive auto-focus system. Its accuracy and speed are a huge advantage for shooting dynamic scenes on the street.
What are some of your goals as an artist or photographer? Where do you hope to see yourself in five years?
My goal is to learn and develop in a more artistic direction. I want to use photography as a way of self-expression, to find my authentic voice and show it to others, to be able to create a way of interaction with the world that is beyond words. I want the photography process to help me observe the current moment without judgment but rather with an open heart.
Are there any special projects you are currently working on that you would like to let everyone know about?
I am currently working on two projects that are quite different from the work I did so far. They are not candid photography in nature and include staging of my main characters within the framework of street photography and documentary photography. I hope to publish them soon and I am very curious to see the responses to these projects.
“When I am not out photographing, I (like to)…
I love reading books before I go to sleep, listening to music, learning philosophy and Buddhism. Generally, I am a curious person who loves asking questions. I hope this childish curiosity will always be part of me."