Born in Russia, raised in Israel, and currently based in Italy, Marianne Yarmolinsky Efratie is an Israeli visual artist working illustration, design and photography. And the latter fits right in with her life as an "eternal traveller", she says.
"For me, photography allows the immediate capture of moments while travelling. It describes daily life and enhances my relationships with people I meet on my path by giving me an insight into their reality."
And rather than clashing with her illustration and design work, it complements it beautifully. "Illustration has this imaginary aspect; design work addresses a need or solves a problem; photography completes the story with images," she reasons. "At times, these elements are amalgamated in one piece of work, while at others, each has its own rhythm and place."
The mountains of Montana
One of her recent projects is a photo series created during a visit to a town in Northern Italy called Montana (not to be confused with the US state) and represents for her an emotional sense of what it means to be Italian.
"The pictures were taken in the mountains of Corno D'Aquilio last Christmas," she explains. "It was the first time we'd experienced a holiday, had dinner and lunch (including Hanukkah celebration) with our adoptive Italian families. They have shown us Italian life: what it means, how it feels and what inspires them.
"One of the beautiful things is their strong connection to nature; any free time is spent with family and friends at the lake, mountains, sea parks or any kind of outdoors. These quiet days were a perfect opportunity for mountain walks and exploring our relationship with this country and land."
The original photographs were taken in colour, but after review, Mari decided to change them into black and white. "It’s strange, but the black and white images seem much more colourful to me," she says. "I see an endless variety of shades and the absent colours are actually even more present than in a colour photograph.
"Black and white highlights the composition, puts the place in the front of the story, shows a really specific perspective and most importantly, gives the light a character and a ‘body’," she explains.
"Although the moment is frozen, it almost seems like the images are in a constant movement. You can feel the importance of light in the pictures, which reflects its significance for the land, the atmosphere, the plants and on life as a whole."
For her, the pictures express the "loud silence" of the area. "The higher and further you climb, the weaker your memory of the city. Your thoughts and daily life begin to recede, and only then, you start to hear the mountains, the trees, the grass, the lake; you become attuned to nature. It brings calmness and freedom and one feels a part of something indescribably bigger."
A week in Antwerp
Mari got to feed her wanderlust further recently, in the company of D.A.T.E. (Discover Antwerp Through Experience), a project that brings together international creatives to discover the city and collaborate on an exhibition (you can see what she created for that here).
"The week in Antwerp was truly inspiring," she says. "I was really surprised to see how Antwerp is breathing art, music, design, fashion and great healthy food, and how there is a strong sense of a creative community.
"I came back filled with inspiration and new project ideas," she adds. "It has renewed my drive and confidence to create and express ideas in any form or shape, and to constantly combine personal artistic projects with good professional work, independently as well as collaborating with others."