Biography

Elinor Carucci (b. 1971, Jerusalem, Israel) draws inspiration from her personal life to create poignant images that present her most intimate moments, contemplating identity, relationships and the passage of time. Carucci’s work highlights both beautiful and imperfect aspects of the human condition. In this way, her work grapples with the balance of the personal and the universal. 

Carucci constructs images with dramatic lighting and careful compositions, adding theatricality to these predominantly candid scenes. Each of Carucci’s series responds to the broad range of emotions experienced at different stages of her life. In Closer (2002), Carucci captures her closest personal relationships with her parents, her husband and herself. While these scenes are staged, Carucci’s relationship to her subjects fosters the sense of authenticity palpable in each image. Diary of a Dancer (2005) draws on Carucci’s experiences as a Middle Eastern professional dancer working as the entertainment for weddings and Bar Mitzvahs. Similar to other bodies of Carucci’s work, images from this series emphasize the liveliness and delight she experienced, while others are imbued with darkness and vulnerability.

Carucci’s most extensive series, Mother (2013), chronicles the lives of her twin children, beginning with her pregnancy through their eighth birthday. These images retain the intimacy and even sensuality that she explored in earlier series as she underscores the everyday messy and tender moments of parenting. Mother documents the relationship between two siblings, the shifting role of a mother as her children grow up, and the ephemerality of childhood.

While motherhood remains at the core of this work, Carucci also confronts notions of personal identity as an Israeli immigrant. These images present a shift towards Carucci’s own groundedness in New York City through her children, as they stroll through the streets of the city, play in playgrounds, and bicker on street corners. By photographing the everyday lives of her kids, Carucci reveals the ways in which her children, as American born citizens, have come to shape her own identity as American.

Elinor Carucci graduated from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design with a degree in photography, and moved to New York that same year. Her photographs are included in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Brooklyn Museum of Art; and the Houston Museum of Fine Art. Her work appeared in The New York Times Magazine; The New Yorker; Details; New York Magazine; W; Aperture; and ARTnews. She was awarded the ICP Infinity Award in 2001, The Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002 and NYFA in 2010. Carucci has published three monographs to date, Closer (Chronicle Books 2002) and Diary of a Dancer (SteidlMack 2005) and MOTHER (Prestel 2013). In the Fall of 2019, Monacelli Press will publish her fourth monograph, Mid Life.