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Café Moment, 2002

On December 9, 2001, I wrote in my diary: “As daily life becomes an effort, art becomes both a luxury and a vital bubble.”  And on March 17 I wrote:” My bubble exploded last Saturday at 10 p.m. in the blast at cafe Moment. Every morning I pass in front of the ruins of what had been for a short time my temporary studio and I light a candle. Thursday morning I went to photograph the site. My legs and hands were shaking.”

I went to photograph the destroyed site five days after the terror attack at my brother-in-law’s café, a blast which killed eleven people and wounding scores of others, some of which had just ended a Peace Now demonstration nearby.

In the series Moment, space is inversed: the urbane landscape is caught in the mirrors that survived the blast, and what was once a cosy and fashionable cafe is now an open wound in the heart of one of Jerusalem bourgeois neighbourhood. In the auto-portrait triptych series, a man wearing a red jumper crosses my frame. Was he once a customer? did he sit on the lonely chair that survived the blast? Pillars still stand up and the name of the café in Hebrew is still there, seen in reverse in the mirrors.

This traumatic event eventually led me on my photographic journeys along the borders and eventually I created the Border Land’s body of work. The sense of fear and vulnerability I felt after the terror attack at Moment, one of many during the years of the 2nd Intifada, would eventually disappeared as I witnessed the conflict as a freelance news photographer.

Ariane Littman