Don’t let the name fool you: Elinor Carucci was born in Jerusalem and studied at the Bezalel Academy of Art in Jerusalem; she moved to New York City the day after graduation to pursue her career as a photographer. The first few months were very difficult; she was on her own, and struggling with the many cultural differences. But she persevered and was soon approached by the prestigious Ricco/Maresca Gallery and offered a solo show and representation; she is now represented by the Sasha Wolf Gallery. Her first book, Closer, was published in 2002, the same year she was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, and it was followed by Diary of a Dancer in 2005. Mother, her third book, just came out from Prestel, and she chatted with Fiction Editor Yona Zeldis McDonough about the tender and intimate collection of photographs that comprise the volume.
YZM: Tell me about your earliest experiences with photography.
EC: I was 15 years old when I picked up my father’s camera. I then very intuitively walked into my mother’s bedroom and started taking pictures of her as she was waking up from her afternoon nap. in the coming weeks I continued taking pictures of her and then of my other family members and myself. I saw so much more with my camera, looking through it, looking at the photographs, it was another way of communicating with the people I love most and later with many more people.
YZM: Where do you find your inspiration?
EC: In feelings and seeing. In life, in art, in looking with attention and depth. Looking and feeling…and trying to understand and go deeper. In photographs, films and TV shows, painting, books. The streets, the people I love, looking at families in the subway, talking to a stranger, comforting a friend.
YZM: The subjects in your most recent body of work, Mother, are your children and your husband. How do you bring being a mother and being a photographer together?
EC: With a lot of hard work and focus. I had to set priorities, and give up a lot of my time with friends and free time for now.