Over the course of his internationally acclaimed photojournalistic career, spanning four decades, Mr. Alex Levac has created thousands of still frames that subtly juxtapose humanity and reality with humor and compassion. He has an eye for the absurd, the surprising, the terrifying, and the hilarious, as well as creative frictions and tensions. His work highlights the engaging power and informative value of photography, emerging from the seemingly banal details of everyday life.
Born in Tel Aviv in 1944, Mr. Levac received his first camera from his father at a young age, and developed his photos in a makeshift lab in his parents’ bathroom. He went on to study philosophy and psychology at Tel Aviv University (graduating in 1968) and photography at the London College of Printing (1971).
His career has led him on journeys through the Amazon rain forest, as well as urban centers in Brazil, the United States, and Europe. His encounters with diverse populations, often living in conditions of poverty and overcrowding, sharpened his realization that his camera lens should be pointed at people, not nature.
Mr. Levac returned to Israel in 1982, and subsequently became a staff photographer for the daily newspaper Hadashot until it closed in 1993. Since then, he has served as a staff photographer for Haaretz, where he also publishes a weekly column featuring an original, penetrating, offbeat, or humorous photo, reflecting the eccentricities and contradictions of Israeli life.
The exceptional images he has generated over his career have had a lasting impact on Israeli society, by deviating from the traditional role of photojournalism of capturing reality, and instead focusing on shaping it. One of his most famous pictures – taken in 1984, during what has become known as the “Bus 300 affair” – raised serious questions regarding government accountability, and eventually led to increased public awareness of security practices and an improvement in working procedures within the Israeli security system.
Mr. Levac’s work has been displayed in numerous exhibitions in Israel and overseas, as well as in several books. He is the recipient of the 2005 Israel Prize for Photography, the Rita Poretzky Award of Photography from the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, the Ministry of Education and Culture’s Prize for Photography, and the Israel Museum’s Enrique Kavlin Lifetime Achievement Award for Photography.
Mr. Levac has been a champion of the right to creative expression and freedom of speech throughout his career. With his thousands of photos, he has pieced together a collage of Israeli society, presenting both its strengths and its imperfections.