When he finished his army service he started an extensive travel around the world while gaining knowledge and higher education in photography, history, architecture, history of arts, geography, philosophy, theology, diving and sailing. He has studied photojournalism in the NYI of photography in New York, USA and later he studied for a BFA degree, majoring in photography in the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, Israel.
Over the years he has crossed six continents, lived in some of the world's major cities and has immersed himself in all manners of work and cultures. His ability to speak fluent Hebrew, English and basic Arabic has opened doors for him in many countries. This experience, he believes helped him to learn to feel empathy towards his subjects and to convey to the public the reality of life through his eyes.
Rafael's photography work is well recognised and his images have appeared in a large number of publications, magazines and web sites in Israel and around the world. He is currently freelancing for Israeli and overseas newspapers and magazines and is distributing his images mainly through Newscom, Alamy, Xinhua, Photoshot and Zumapress. In 2001-2002, Rafael showcased his photography at two solo exhibitions and one joint exhibition in Australia and New Zealand. He was honoured by the Waitangi National Trust of NZ when three of his images became an international NZ stamps in a collectors edition.
His passion for photography and his experience in freelancing in almost all fields of photography, led Rafael to build and run along with his partner to life, an independent photography service called Chameleons Eye.
Chameleons Eye is a private owned Image Bank and Photo Assignment Service that supplies features, pictures of Israel, news photos and stock images for online and print publications in Israel and worldwide. Rafael chooses his topics and assignments independently and approaches them in his own unique way. Among his other interests, Rafael practices Vipassana meditation, teaching individuals and small group photography and gives public lecturing in his spare time.
Rafael constantly works on new photo assignments and has recently attended 3 solo exhibitions in Marseille France – "60 years of Israel", "Life in Israel" and "Jerusalem – the heart of Israel" for the 60th anniversary to Israel. Last year, Rafael documented the war between Israel and Hamas, completing a feature called “Faces of Terror”. He then travelled to New Zealand to shoot the Fiordland in the south Island, completing a feature called “The Land of the Pink Sheep”. After he travelled to Beijing where he covered a feature in the new city called “The new Old Face of Beijing” and recently he returned back from New York where he documented a feature called “New York’s Broken Skyline”.
Rafael’s long term professional photography experience makes him comfortable working with analogue 35mm B&W and colour film, slides, SLR, and panoramic, underwater and digital SLR cameras. On location, he makes use of both available light and artificial light to capture his images.
2007 - Photo published in Doubletruck Magazine "World's Best News Pictures"
2006 - Excellent Artist in Photography from the Israeli Government
2005 - Excellent Artist in Photography from the Israeli Government
2011 - "Unexpected Israel" - Milan, Italy
2011 - "Cultural Friends" exhibition for customs and traditions around the world - Paseo de la Reforma (Reform Promenade) - Mexico City, Mexico
2010 - "Stories of Israel: A Photographed Journey to the Country's Soul" - Group Exhibition in Embassies Worldwide
2010 - "Tel Aviv: The City that Emerged from the Dunes" - Mexican Senate Headquarters, Mexico City
2010 - "Tel Aviv: The City that Emerged from the Dunes" - Fine Arts Metro, Mexico City
2008 - "During 60 Years of Israel" - Marseille, France
2008 - "Life in Israel" - Marseille, France
2008 - "Jerusalem - the Heart of Israel" - Marseille, France
2003 - "Untitled" - Paihia, New Zealand
2003 - "The Decisive Moment" - Kerikeri, New Zealand
2002 - "A Thin Line Trade" - Melbourne, Australia
2003 - Rescue diving and underwater photography from Padi Bay of Islands NZ
1999 - Bachelor of fine arts (B.F.A) in Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design - Jerusalem Israel
1995 - Professional photography in New York Institute of Photography - New York USA
Scoop Magazine - Israel
Friday, August 18 2006
Article by Sarit Livne
"When he was 17 the Israeli born photographer Rafael Ben Ari experienced a severe brain infection and the doctors told him that he has one month left to live. In an instant decision he took his father's old camera (Konica) and started to document the first day of the rest of his life... Rafael's life was saved eventually and since then he is using every spare moment to live the life he had been given back and document them through his eyes. Now he is one of the busiest photographers in Israel, and every photograph of his is worth more then a thousand words."
Russell Lights-Bay of Islands, NZ
Thursday, 25 September 2003
Article by Birgitta Joy Jonsdottir
"Its like stepping into another world. The photos filled with history and details, still flash in my mind. His motives and ambience are unique; it’s obvious that he has a sense for details the rest of us tend to miss. You can find photos there to suit your whole emotional scale. Travel through his chameleon eyes into the world of the bizarre, the beautiful and the majestic."
The Northern Advocate - Northland, NZ
2 Sep, 2003 - Article by Bill MacLaren
Title: Visions through the Lens "Recommended Viewing."
"...features the brilliant work of Israeli photographer Rafael Ben-Ari. It highlights, through the extraordinary and gifted eyes of a master pictorial storyteller, the many faces and fortunes of mankind."
If you would like to learn more about the photographer Rafael Ben-Ari please visit:
or http://www.chameleonmedia.co.nz/ or view more of his photography at: