Dr. David E. Tadmor
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain
David Tadmor is a man of many hats.
Tadmor is the founding and managing partner of Tadmor-Levy, a leading law firm in Tel Aviv with 120 lawyers and interns. He is a former Director General of the Israel Antitrust authority, and a recognized leading expert in the area of competition law. He specializes in regulatory and administrative law, handles complex litigation and arbitration, and has many years of experience in the area of mergers and acquisitions.
Tadmor hosted a weekly hour-long radio show on legal matters on Galei Tzahal for 5 years. He holds a first degree in law from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem as well as Master’s and Doctorate degrees in law from New York University School of Law where he was aFulbright Scholar. Tadmor was aWachtell, Lipton, Rosen and Katz associate for five years. He is a member of the Israel and NY bar associations, and was an adjunct professor at Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University in Jerusalem Schools of Law.
He is also a highly accomplished and exhibited photographer.
Inheriting his father’s love of photography, Tadmor has been photographing since he was six years old. He explains that photography has become part of who he is. From a young age he has become accustomed to seeing the world in frames, which may either be the result of his deep interest in photography or the reason for it.
Tadmor has been influenced by many of the 20th century’s greatest photographers: Eugène Atget, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Ansel Adams, Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Robert Capa, Sebastião Salgado, Thomas Struth, André Kertész, to mention a few.
His main areas of focus are street photography and portraiture, landscape, and urban landscape. His photography is a combination of documentation and art, creating new interpretations whilst maintaining a discourse with images and photographers of the past.
Combining an intense and successful career in law and in photography may seem demanding, but in fact much connects these two seemingly dissimilar areas. Both call for a dynamic and industrious lifetime of imagination and attention. Both require creative and critical thinking, a sharp eye, a constant dialogue with the past and a strong sense of aesthetics.
Tadmor’s earliest images involved documentary photography that did not necessarily have any artistic inspirations. He mostly focused on family, friends and events he witnessed or was part of. Whereas these days photography has become a pervasive aspect of contemporary life, back then documenting the mundane was unusual. The result is a striking private collection of what life in that era of Israeli history was like.
His interest in portraiture began with his family and personal acquaintances. Portraiture is often discussed as an encounter between the subject and the photographer. Tadmor’s images both capture the emotion and complexity in the faces of his subjects but also project his own outlook and experiences into the image. This has become all the more evident in Tadmor’s work since April 2003, when the birth of his twins – a boy and a girl – as well as his aging parents brought something else to the foreground, sparking a phase of intimate portraits clearly depicting a sense of tenderness and the caring eye of the photographer towards his subjects.
Tadmor’s later works show the persistence of portraiture in his oeuvre. Tadmor’s human-centered perspective and interest in creating candid imagery of his subjects explains why he has been drawn to street photography. By using the volatile street life to create impromptu street portraits, Tadmor always aims to capture the genuine and un-staged essence of his subjects.
In contemporary visual culture, where viewers have become highly accustomed to polished and photoshopped images, random street photography preserves the originality that many of us crave by capturing authentic imagery of spontaneous moments. A good street photographer must possess an eye for detail, light, and composition, impeccable timing and an untiring ability to constantly shoot, aiming to never miss that fleeting moment in which the next great picture potentially lies.
A keen-eyed photographer with a strong emphasis on the aesthetic and a fantastic sense of color, Tadmor’s recurring themes include portraits and human interactions, architecture, urban landscapes and seemingly subjective objects captured as if telling a story of their own.
A major part of his life and one very evident in his photographic endeavors is Tadmor’s love of travel. Whereas many artists in the past often focused on one city or area, Tadmor’s photography spans continents and cultures, contributing to the richness of his work. As an avid traveler, Tadmor’s images engage with urban as well as natural landscapes. His travel photographs portray the accurate appearance of a destination as well as capture its unique ambience.
Tadmor’s urban landscapes present his interest in both urban aesthetics and the city’s inhabitants. This body of work embodies the continuous novelty and excitement of travel, where creative exploration leads to unexpected and exciting images, artistically rearticulating the urban space through his images (add link to urban landscapes theme). His natural landscapes often attempt to evoke an emotion rather than critically comment upon the socio-economic aspects of each setting. He usually connects to places aesthetically and the feelings a locale can evoke is what he wants to eternalize and pass on to his viewers.
Tadmor’s choice to often take pictures of natural landscapes devoid of human presence puts the purity of nature or the sheer visual power of the location in the foreground. Focusing on the location rather than its inhabitants creates a sense of awe and reverence, not unlike historic artistic imagery of nature that was once associated with the sublime.
Related to both travel and an interest in landscape photography, Tadmor’s awareness of nature also becomes apparent. His joyful images of animals beautifully illustrate his deep emotional experiences as do his ongoing projects depicting trees and the dense mystery of forests. His mesmerizing pictures of trees manage to portray them as ancient anthropomorphic beings, reminiscent of J.R.R. Tolkien's fantastical tree creatures.
A significant notion in Tadmor’s life is that “great photography is just great storytelling. Great storytelling evolves from a life well lived. Live first.” Tadmor thus uses his photography as a way of life, as an ongoing passion and as an artistic way to document the many details that would otherwise have been long lost.
Despite photography’s pervasive use as daily documentation, it is often said that a photographer’s photos say more about the person behind the camera than his subjects. This relates to the ongoing discourse in photography, placing the medium between the objective and the subjective, between automatism and agency. Tadmor’s photography preserves his memories but also presents reality from his personal perspective. By creating unique juxtapositions that contribute new meaning even to the most mundane of subjects, Tadmor’s photography acts as an aesthetic and philosophical observation of life.
In his early years Tadmor mostly used a small Kodak instamatic, his parents’ 1950s Leica, an Olympus OM and Cannon cameras - none of which had the technological capabilities of his later equipment.
His passion for photography also incorporates his related innovative nature and technological savviness. From a young age, Tadmor’s interest lies in the entire photographic process which has many stages. This includes the experience surrounding the equipment, the actual stage of photographing images, the production and development procedure, the viewing of the final images and the publishing, exhibition and distribution of pictures.
Currently, Tadmor uses Phase One and Sony cameras.
Early on Tadmor would often develop and print his own images, which enabled greater control over the entire photographic process. However, when color photography became more widely accessible, the development procedure became too expensive for home use. Color photography attracted him nonetheless, even though it meant succumbing to reduced levels of authorial control over the process.
In 1993 Tadmor returned to Israel after living in the US, studying at NYU and working at WLRK. It was around this time, with the development of computers for home use, that the convergence of computer capabilities and photography entered his life and inspired him further. At this stage table scanners and printers started to become more accessible for home use. This meant that Tadmor could now independently scan, process and print his photos, regaining much of the lost control over the photographic process.
Once the computer became more fully integrated in the photographic practice, it became an ideal combination of two of Tadmor’s specialties – computers and cameras - that enabled a renewed involvement in the photographic process in its entirety. This meant that the creative practice throughout the full photographic production course became more significant.
The next important stage was progressing to a digital camera, in which the fusion between camera and computer was complete. He used various digital cameras but now prefers medium format and mirrorless cameras. Tadmor also does his own printing work on large format Epson printers and is thus completely self-sufficient, in full control of the creative process.
After several solo exhibitions in Israel, and group exhibitions in which Tadmor has participated, his photos appear in many private collections.
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