Bonac, Through Tara Israel’s Lens

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"Bonac" by Tara Israel.

No single image can communicate a lifetime of experiences, nor can one person speak to a community as a whole.

With “Bonac: Letters from Home,” photographer Tara Israel tells a piece of her truth, documenting what “home” looks like to her generation of locals in East Hampton.

Now on view at the Arts Center at Duck Creek — located at 127 Squaw Road in East Hampton — the photo essay represents Israel’s own origin story, documenting everyone from best friends to schoolmates to adults who had an impact on her as a child.

“Ms. Israel created a body of work that she could place herself in the middle of, because home is more than just a mailing address. It is the alchemy of personal experiences colliding with those we coexist with,” according to a press release. “A home is created as much by our family of birth as it is by our family of choice or our community. ‘Home’ is the product of a lifetime of choices and circumstances, built on every generation that came before.”

Sidney at the old East Hampton Bowling Alley. Tara Israel photo

Since 2009, Israel has made portraits of domestic landscapes, giving her audience a rare, intimate glimpse into a small community with centuries of tangled roots, struggling to define “local.”

“This is a love letter to a small town that has served as Israel’s greatest muse,” the release said. “It is about how we impact each other’s lives, actively and passively, that brings us together, and why this photographer’s identity is best understood through the lens of her surroundings. While the work is autobiographical, her subjects’ agency remains unaltered. A multitude of realities are portrayed in Tara’s photos, and each one is handled with the same love and caution. Everything is familiar. Everywhere is home.”

The photo essay will remain on view through July 22. For more information, please visit taraisrael.com or duckcreekarts.org.

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