Inspired by their personal relationship that blossomed in the Covid-19 lockdown, the pair decided to find other couples with similar experiences
Based in Tel Aviv, Israel, Rona Bar and Ofek Avshalom are a photographer duo, also known as Fotómetro. Both professional photographers for some eight years, they met on Instagram three years ago. They soon began working on a project together, and a year later became a couple. As their relationship developed, despite Covid-19 restrictions, the duo was inspired to find other couples and celebrate connection under lockdown. The result is their project, Us.
Why are they photographed mostly nude?
We wanted to deal with relevant topics for us, as humans, that are related to diversity, gender, identity and body image. By showcasing various couples and characters in their natural habitat, in their intimate place with their partner, feeling vulnerable and safe, we wanted to represent, normalise and celebrate all kinds of love while breaking social norms.
Why did you photograph the couples in their homes?
The idea was a reaction to the lockdowns in Israel, but it means a lot more. The connection between the couples is one of the things we wanted to focus on, we wanted to capture the intimacy and the togetherness of the couples and we felt like they would feel most comfortable in their own space. We wanted to simplify the setting and styling. The look and feel of the project is mostly warm and natural. We also believe that each story of each couple is told not only by the subjects, but also by the authentic setting that they’re placed at, so photographing the couples in their homes is crucial for this project. The seclusion afforded by the pandemic, which both inspired and enabled the project, appears to be seeping away. Despite this, we have come to realise that the resonance of the photo setting is timeless, and while it may have been enabled by lockdown, it is certainly not restricted by it.
How did you approach the couples to make these images?
We think that the fact that we are a couple ourselves makes the connection between the subjects and the photographers more authentic. When we share our story with them, it makes it easy for them to relate to and trust us, and it shows in the images. The key to this lay in the communication with the couples.
Could you tell us about one of the couples in your images?
Nastya and Andy are 23 years old, from Jaffa (near Tel-Aviv), Israel. Andy is a full time musician and a producer, Nastya is a dancer and an artist. They met two years ago through a dating app, it was exactly while they both didn’t want a serious relationship because they had just got out of one. For a while they didn’t call themselves a “couple”, but just couldn’t be apart from each other. Then Covid-19 hit, and they just stayed home together. They got to know each other without any distractions, it was real and pure.
From the very first moment they inspired each other and shared their art with each other. That is what made it so interesting and passionate.
Starting out as an intern back in 2016, Izabela Radwanska Zhang is now the Editorial Director of British Journal of Photography in print and online. Her words have appeared in Disegno and Press Association. Prior to this, she completed a MA in Magazine Journalism at City University, London, and most recently, a Postgrad Certificate in Graphic Design at London College of Communication.