an investigative photo documentary

Exclusive 20-page photo essay from our investigative journalist team in collaboration with award-winning photojournalist Ryan Walker. Location: Toronto, Canada Copyright Wondereur 2017.

MEET with artist Rafael Goldchain curated by one of the world's most celebrated artists Edward Burtynsky.

Goldchain
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IMAGINE BEING THERE, FACING THE JUDEAN DESERT, JUST A FEW YEARS AFTER THE 1967 WAR.
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The old campus of Hebrew University sat at the edge of Mount Scopus overlooking the whole city. On a clear day, I could see the Dead Sea from my window - a dramatic view of ancient and recent history.
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In the early ’70s, it seemed like Jerusalem was just one massive story - a huge pile of different stories - and photographically, people were on the street, devoted to this kind of photography that is raw, urgent and responsive to what’s out there.
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THERE WAS NO WAY YOU COULDN’T BE INVOLVED IN THAT MOMENT. PHOTOGRAPHY BECAME MY WAY OF ENGAGING WITH IT.
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A few years later when I moved to Toronto, I met teachers like Robert Gooblar whom I found philosophically really interesting.
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HE MADE ME LOOK AT PHOTOGRAPHY AS A MEDITATIVE, PHILOSOPHICAL TAKE OF ONE’S LIFE.
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When I was approaching 60, I started to feel the passage of time. I had finished a major project, I was emotionally exhausted, and it was an acute crisis for me. I looked for something that would reflect how I felt at the time.
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I certainly didn't want to go back into the studio and do more self-portraits, repeating myself. I needed to get out of that, so I decided to work outside of the studio, carrying around the camera with me.
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I started to notice these pillars and trees that were kind of broken down.
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GRADUALLY I REALIZED THAT THESE NATURAL SHAPES WERE TELLING STORIES OF GROWTH AND SURVIVAL.
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I investigated different ways of photographing them, different ways of entering into these tangled and complex webs of material. For me, they expressed the complexity of our everyday lives - how we negotiate family relationships and try to reconcile personal and professional needs.
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CERTAIN WORK RESONATES WITH YOUR DEEPER NEEDS AS A PERSON.
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Ed Burtynsky and I met in 1976 during our first year at Ryerson. Then, in the mid ’80s, we both applied to go to graduate school, got accepted, and then… both decided not to go. Instead, Ed decided to travel in an RV across Canada and created Breaking Ground, the work that put his name on the map.
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I decided to go back to Chile and Mexico and created Nostalgia for an Unknown Land. That’s when my career started to take off.
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Ed and I have followed each other’s work ever since.
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Looking back, my work has changed every 10 years. Every time I start a new project, it's always radically different.
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I FEEL THE NEED TO REINVENT MYSELF PERIODICALLY IN ORDER TO KEEP GROWING.