Model Behavior

Photographer Miri Davidovitz uses fashion to shift the conversation surrounding a people.

Strikingly handsome, dressed in pared-down American Apparel and wearing Vans sneakers with an iPhone in hand, 22 year old Emmanuel Lam would fit in anywhere. Originally from South Sudan, Emmanuel speaks fluent Hebrew and is a refugee living in Tel Aviv.

Determined to depict the refugees in Tel Aviv through a different and more flattering lens, photographer Miri Davidovitz, influenced by her extensive background in fashion photography, took to the streets and began shooting the population in South Tel Aviv during their religious ceremonies, weddings and weekly church services. “I met Emmanuel in the street. He didn’t look like the other people who I had been photographing, he looked like a top model. If his circumstances were different, he very well could be a top model but without a passport, he doesn’t have this opportunity,” explains Davidovitz. The shoot with Emmanuel was inspired by the way the African men in South Tel Aviv dress for church on Saturdays. In order to portray Emmanuel in an authentic and glamorous light, Davidovitz did comprehensive research of African motifs and Afro-American style.

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