Few other issues fuel global tension and violence as does the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, yet what do we really understand about the people who live it beyond the bloody images on the nightly news? Why is 1948 a catastrophe to some, independence to others? Why are some children willing to be suicide bombers and others willing to go to war over a "Middle Ages icon"? How can we stop this violence unless we better understand the "other" as well as ourselves?
In the summer of 2002, I began traveling from the Gaza Strip to the Lebanese border to interview and photograph Israelis and Palestinians from all walks of life. I asked my subjects to address the main issue that is fueling the violence in this particular conflict: people's connection to the land. I had them answer the question: "What does the land that some call Israel, and others call Palestine, mean to you?" In photographing my subjects, I asked them to look into the lens of my camera-as if speaking directly to the viewer. I intentionally photographed each person in an environment that seems remarkably removed from the day-to-day violence we are used to seeing.
Excerpt from her essay in the FOTOFEST2006 catalogue.
BARBARA GROVER This Land to Me: Some Call it Palestine, Others Israel
This Land to Me – Some Call it Palestine, Others Israel allows viewers to experience a virtual encounter with Israelis and Palestinians who are touched by violence in some way everyday; by giving photos and text equal prominence, the work comes to life. Grover’s installation consists of life-size black and white photographic canvases, with excerpts of the interviews displayed alongside the photograph. Rather than talking about violence, the subject was asked to discuss the main issue that is fueling it: people’s connection to the land.
Barbara Grover’s travels to over 40 countries, many facing conflict and poverty, led her to leave her career as a political consultant and take on the creation of photographic works that would affect social change. After teaching herself photography, Grover began her journey as a freelance photojournalist in 1996. Working largely for non- profit organizations, her work has appeared in Time Magazine, Stern, the LA Weekly and various Rizzoli publications. Over the last year, she has had solo shows at the Sherry Frumkin Gallery in Santa Monica, The Godwin-Ternbach Museum in Queens, and the Kansas City Public Library. Currently, she is working on expanding her project –THIS LAND TO ME -- Some Call It Palestine, Others Israel – into a book. Grover is based in her native Los Angeles.