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.”

Monochrome makeover

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.