For three decades, Miki Kratsman has been among the leading chroniclers of life in the Israeli-occupied territories. His photographs uncover personal stories while revealing the violent, often detached nature of Israel's military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. While trying to answer an essential question—“What happened to the people in the photographs?”—Kratsman has amassed a vast archive of more than 9,000 portraits of anonymous Palestinians, which he uploaded onto a dedicated Facebook page in 2011: https://facebook.com/kratsman.people.i.met/.
Titled People I Met, the current exhibition materializes 2,500 images from the artist’s growing portrait archive, together with identifying commentary that, in some cases, serves as a literal proof of life—or death. Alongside the installation that gives the exhibition its title, the show brings together photographs from Kratsman’s “Bedouin Archive,” his “Displaced” series, the 2017 video titled 70 Meters…White T-shirt, which condenses a year of shooting in the Palestinian village of Nabi Sahli, and several tabletop photographic “panoramas” of “unrecognized” Arab villages the Israeli government has slated for demolition. The exhibition at USF Contemporary Art Museum is Kratsman’s biggest U.S. exhibition to date.