Elinor Carucci

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Elinor Carucci
BornJune 11, 1971
Jerusalem, Israel
NationalityIsrael, United States
EducationBezalel Academy of Arts and Design
Known forphotography
AwardsGuggenheim Fellowship

Elinor Carucci (born June 11, 1971) is an Israeli-American Fine Art Photographer.[1][2] She is based in New York City.

Carucci has published three monographs to date; Closer (2002), Dairy of a Dancer (2005), and Mother (2013). While maintaining a photography practice, Carucci has also taught at Princeton University and currently teaches at the School of Visual Arts in New York.

In 2001, she was awarded the ICP Infinity Award and in 2010 a Guggenheim Fellowship. Carucci’s work has been included in solo shows at Edwynn Houk Gallery, and James Hyman in London.


Carucci graduated in 1989 from Rubin Academy High School of Dance and Music in Jerusalem where she majored in Music. She then served in the Israeli Army for two years from 1989 to 1991. After serving she graduated in 1995 from Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design with a degree in photography and moved to New York City that same year, where she now lives with her husband, Eran Bendheim, and their two children.

She currently teaches at the graduate program of photography at School of Visual Arts while continuing her personal fine art photography projects. Currently, she is returning to photographing her children and their social cycles as teenagers and working on a project about mid-life.

Her work appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, New York Magazine, W, Aperture, ARTnews and many more publications.

As put in a B&H Studio Visit with Carucci,[3] her work consistently dives into the personal, yet always with the goal of finding universal meaning. Her photographs reflect qualities of the snapshot home-photo-album aesthetic, yet also that of the theatrically staged image. In this, she melts boundaries between the two extremes of Nan Goldin and Sally Mann, two of her greatest inspirations, as described in ARTnews article published in November of 2006 by Edwynn Houk and in the B&H Studio Visit with Carucci.[3] The staged quality of many of her photographs often evokes questions from viewers of their authenticity. Yet, as described in Issue 12 of the magazine Dear Dave,[4]

"Her photographs might be described as ‘heightened reality,’ lit, as they often are like scenes from a play. This gives them a self-referential quality–simultaneously landed and choreographed. She has observed that, for her, what is truthful does not necessarily correlate to whether it was staged or not. In her photographs Carucci seeks what she calls 'emotional truth,’ where authenticity and theatricality can coexist."

Or even as described in the New Yorker:

“Her pictures are deep and elemental – they have nearly confessional quality, as if she, like Roupenian, is giving bold voice to things that typically remain unsaid. “

Carucci’s work is a pathway for her bold voice to start a conversation about events in her life. Whether it is showing the challenging moments of being a parent or showing vulnerable moments in her personal relationship with her parents, her husband, children, or herself; Carucci has never shied away from exposing her emotions. As mentioned in the Issue 12 of the magazine Dear Dave:

“...Elinor Carucci has never veered from the actual facts and details of her life. In photographs that are posed yet revealing, Carucci has staged the territory of domestic intimacy for almost 30 years. She has recorded the early years of romance and her close relationships with her parents in Israel: we can observe her making a living as a dancer and note her swelling belly when she was pregnant with twins. She fearlessly documented her post-partum body, the mess of snotty- nosed kids, and when her marriage was in crisis, she unflinchingly made images of anger, tension and regret. “


Carucci's major bodies of work[edit]


Carucci’s first monograph, Closer, contains her earlier work focusing on immediate family and her closest relationships. A Time Lightbox article[5] from 2013 summarizes the meaning behind this body of work:

Closer (2002) chronicled her tumultuous relationship with her husband and parents through incidences of infidelity (hers) too much dope (her husband’s) and her parents fractious relationship and eventual divorce. The mood was gentle, though, with plenty of high notes; the everyday ebb and flow of relationships were lovingly and lavishly documented, while the larger narratives played out in the background."

As Carucci describes in the introduction to Closer,

“The camera was, in this sense, both a way to get close, and to break free. It was a testimony to independence as well as a new way to relate. A boundary, a distance, as well as the documentation of closeness. I could see my mother, my husband, my father, at once in a detached and a related way…..Things I had previously considered marginal drifted to the center and often became themes in their own right. Ironically, the closer I got to the details, the more I zoomed in the more universal the themes turned out to be. Moving in turned out to be moving out. Work on minute details – a mark on the skin, a stitch, a hair, an eye, a kiss – carried the work beyond the boundaries of my family.”

Also discussed in The Telegraph article:

“While the pictures describe the vulnerability of our aging, corporeal selves, they also describe they sensual and sexual pleasures to be had in life seemingly right next to us, just for the asking –kissing, stroking, touching, embracing, hugging, eating, bathing, enjoying sex. We do, after all, see three generations of the same family in the pages of the book. The themes are many, ranging from female identity to family to mortality, and it is the beauty of the work that we are drawn back to it to discover more and more of them. “

Diary of a Dancer[edit]

Published in her second monograph, Diary of a Dancer (2005), documents Carucci’s experience as a professional Middle-Eastern belly dancer entertaining at events like weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs in the five boroughs of New York. It proved difficult for her to dance and take photographs herself, so she often had the help of husband Eran Bendheim. Images in this work reflect Carucci applying makeup and preparing for jobs in dismal looking bathrooms and on subway rides, snapshots of her dancing and of the people she was entertaining.    


Carucci’s latest published body of work, her third monograph Mother (2013) examines the world of her own motherhood. Beginning during the pregnancy of her twins and ending when they turn eight years old, she explores the deeply sensual and erotic connections between mother and child[5][6], all of the highs and lows in photographs reflecting the range of bliss to the raw, less attractive moments. She actively fights the clichè, perfect Madonna and Child aesthetic, wanting to portray the full truth of the realities of motherhood. As someone who emigrated from Israel during her adult life, however, the book goes beyond a look at the familial. A Time Lightbox article[5] discusses this:

“The book is also an exploration of national identity and how having children in a different country from your own makes one look at that country more acutely. It makes an immigrant engage in one’s adopted home in a way that was easy to avoid before…. [Mother] open[ed] her up to document life in the city, meaning that in some elemental ways, the book is as much about New York as it is about her family.”

Also written in Los Angeles Times’s best photo books of 2013 article:

“ Her latest book, “Mother”, is a dreamy but unromaniticized record of her pregnancy and early motherhood, continuing a lineage of evocative photography of childhood that includes Sally Mann’s groundbreaking 1992 book “Immediate Family.”


”The earliest pictures in “Mother” almost seem to have been shot in a womb, the nakedness of her children as natural as puppies rolling in the grass.”


This body of work (2001–2003) narrates a tumultuous time in her marriage to Eran Bendheim. Taking place at a time when they were working through her infidelity and chronic physical pain and his drug abuse, these photographs look straight into the darkness of post-arguments, as well as at their tender moments. Carucci has described how photographing this process actually brought them closer together, as they ultimately demonstrated to each other in the taking of these photographs that their love for one another is held above all else. Photographing was a way of reconnecting.


This project documents Carucci’s time dealing with excruciating back pain during the years 2002 to 2003. A Dear Dave magazine article from Issue 12[7] analyzes the image Pain V, suggesting that it alludes to a painting by Frida Kahlo, Broken Column. The writer draws the parallel between Kahlo and Carucci that their artworks represent their embodied, lived experiences, and that profound statements can be made in art produced from and representing the everyday, at-home experience:

“A second photograph Pain V[8], from 2003, shows Carucci in a back brace encircling her lower abdomen; she bites her lower lip, riven by torment. Carucci’s photographs recall Frida Kahlo’s Broken Column painting from 1944….Broken Column is a portrait of suffering–Kahlo’s torso is a crevasse revealing the crumbling structure representing her spine. Tears stream from her eyes as nails puncture her skin, yet she elegantly drapes a white sheet around her hips. When described as a Surrealist, Kahlo chafed–stating she painted not from dreams or fantasies but from her own lived reality….For Kahlo, history was not an abstraction or a melodrama with a cast of thousands like her husband Diego Rivera’s epic murals, but something that happened to one’s own body, in one’s own domestic space….as actor and director in the drama of her own life, [Carucci] proves that revelatory art can be conjured from the narrow confines of our homes and found in the modest gestures that convey the visible form of our intentions."


  • Closer. San Francisco: Chronicle, 2002. ISBN 9780811834940.
  • Diary of a Dancer. SteidlMack, 2005. ISBN 978-3865211552.
  • Mother. Prestel, 2013. ISBN 978-3791348155.

Solo exhibitions[edit]

  • 1996: National Arts Club, New York
  • 1996: Princeton University, Visual Arts Gallery, Princeton, NJ
  • 1997: Ricco\Maresca Gallery, New York
  • 1999: The Photographers' Gallery, London
  • 1999: Fotografie Forum International, Frankfurt, Germany
  • 1999: Prague House of Photography, Prague
  • 1999: Detail, Ricco/Maresca Gallery, New York
  • 2000: Haifa Museum of Art, Haifa, Israel
  • 2000: Details, Quint Contemporary Art, La Jolla, CA
  • 2002: 51 Fine Art Photography, Antwerp, Belgium
  • 2002: Closer, Ricco/Maresca Gallery, New York; Quint Contemporary Art, La Jolla, CA, 2002; Gagosian Gallery, London, 2003; Noga Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel, 2004.
  • 2004: New Gallery/Thom Andriola, Houston, TX
  • 2004: Images of family and pain, Scalo Gallery, Zurich, SZ
  • 2006: Photographic Center Northwest, Seattle, WA
  • 2006: Moscow House of Photography, Moscow, Russia
  • 2006: Analix Forever, Geneva, SZ
  • 2006: Photography Gallery Vilnius: Union of Lithuanian Art Photographers, Lithuania
  • 2006: Diary of a Dancer, Ricco/Maresca Gallery, New York; 51 Fine Art Photography, Antwerp, Belgium, 2006; Fotografie Forum International, Frankfurt, Germany, 2006.
  • 2006: It's me, Herzlia Museum of Contemporary Art, Herzlia, Israel
  • 2006: Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York NY
  • 2007: Art Academy of Cincinnati, Convergys Gallery
  • 2007: Biennale de la Photographie, Luik, Belgium
  • 2008: Women in photography (www.wipnyc.org)
  • 2010: Intimacy, James Hyman Gallery, London[9]
  • 2010: My Children, Centre pour la Fotografie Contemporaine Le Bleu du Ciel, Lyon[10]
  • 2011: Insight, FoMu, Antwerp, Belgium
  • 2011: Love, in spite..., Tavi Art Gallery, Israel
  • 2011: BORN, Sasha Wolf Gallery, New York[11]
  • 2012: Fotografins hus, Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2014: Mother, Edwynn Houk Gallery, New York[5][12][13][14]
  • 2015: The Effect of Motherhood, Conde Nast Gallery, New York
  • 2016: The family of (wo)man – Coming back to Musrara – Musrara art gallery, Jerusalem Israel
  • 2017: About Love - a two person show (with Tatsiana Tkachova), Mapt, a Non-Profit Organization in Yekaterinburg, Russia



Carucci's work is held in the following permanent collections:


  • Faculty, Photography, SVA Graduate and undergraduate program, New York NY, 2000 - present
  • Faculty, ICP, New York NY, 2001 – present
  • Visiting lecturer, Parsons School of Design, fall 2016
  • Visiting lecturer, Lesley University, fall 2015, fall 2018
  • Visiting Critic and advisor - Visual Arts Program, Columbia University, NYC 2004 - present
  • Visiting lecturer, Columbia University Summer Program, 2012 - present
  • Visiting lecturer, Princeton University, fall 2008
  • Visiting lecturer, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA – spring semester, 2004


  1. ^ "Photographer Elinor Carucci's best shot | Art and design". The Guardian. 2015-09-30. Retrieved 2016-05-21.
  2. ^ "Women in photography: Elinor Carucci". Wipnyc.org. Retrieved 2016-05-21.
  3. ^ a b https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora/photography/features/studio-visit-elinor-carucci
  4. ^ http://ww.deardavemagazine.com/issue12.php
  5. ^ a b c d Bright, Susan. "The Most Intimate Dance: Elinor Carucci's Photos of Motherhood". Time. Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  6. ^ Appleford, By Steve. "A year-end spread of bold, inventive photography books - Los Angeles Times". latimes.com. Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  7. ^ "Dear Dave Magazine". ww.deardavemagazine.com. Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  8. ^ "pain". www.elinorcarucci.com. Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  9. ^ James Hyman Gallery
  10. ^ Le Bleu du Ciel
  11. ^ Sasha Wolf Projects
  12. ^ Mother Tongue. "Elinor Carucci: the mother of all photographers". Telegraph. Retrieved 2016-05-21.
  13. ^ Carucci, Elinor. "ELINOR CARUCCI | A Retrospective". Visura Magazine. Retrieved 2016-05-21.
  14. ^ "Elinor Carucci's 'Mother' Series Captures The Stunning Highs And Lows Of Being A New Parent (NSFW)". Huffingtonpost.com. 2013-10-15. Retrieved 2016-05-21.
  15. ^ "Past Recipients | International Center of Photography". Icp.org. Retrieved 2016-05-21.
  16. ^ "Elinor Carucci". John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  17. ^ "Meet a NYFA Artist: Elinor Carucci". New York Foundation for the Arts. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 23 May 2016.
  18. ^ "Recent Photographs by Elinor Carucci at James Hyman Gallery"". artdaily.org. Retrieved 21 February 2017.
  19. ^ "Collections :: The Harwood Museum of Art :: Taos :: University of New Mexico". collections.harwoodmuseum.org. Retrieved 2018-10-09.
  20. ^ "Archive 2011 - Fotomuseum Provincie Antwerpen". Fotomuseum Provincie Antwerpen. Retrieved 2018-10-09.

External links[edit]