‘I had not come across Nadja Makhlouf's work until I was asked to view it for this exhibition. I was immediately struck by the hybrid aspect of the photographs and the subject matter. At least, it seemed so on the surface. They offered intimate moments with people whose social paths were unlikely to have ever crossed. If they did, it would not be to share life’s purpose, yet the lens seemed at home with all of them and, by extension, as a viewer, you became so too.
Looking a little closer one can see what these photographs have in common. They aim to capture that aspect of human existence that is none negotiable- the life force in each one of us. As a film maker myself, I do appreciate what photographs are sometimes capable of achieving in one still moment. There was no first, second and third acts but I already want to know who these people are? What is their story? What happens next?’
Leila Sansour is a Palestinian/British filmmaker who is best known for her two feature documentaries released across cinemas in the UK and internationally to a high critical acclaim- Jeremy Hardy vs The Israeli Army (2003) and Open Bethlehem (2014). She is the founder of the project ‘Open Bethlehem’ which promotes global engagement with Bethlehem as a doorway into Palestine. This project has led to the gathering of an extensive archive of the city that is soon to be launched as an online resource in collaboration with Sussex university under the name Planet Bethlehem.