An interview with Dafy Hagai

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Originally from a small town in Israel called Ramat Hasharon, Dafy Hagai is an analogue photographer who spends her time working and living between Tel Aviv and New York City. Describing her photographic aesthetic as nostalgic, girly & clean, a strong female gaze radiates from her work. Here we chat about her recent book Israeli Girls and her admiration for other young woman working in the same field.
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What do you look for in a subject when you take a portrait or enter an editorial shoot? How comfortable they are with themselves, and also how well that person fits in to the character I had in mind for the story.

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 And why analogue? I like the way it looks and the work process.
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What female artists do you admire? Are there any you feel influence the direction of your work? The girls from Girlfriends, like Monika Mogi, Maya Fuhr, Rebbeca Storm, Claire Milbrath, Valerie Phillips, Dana Boulos.

If you could travel anywhere to photograph, where would it be and why? so many places, I’d love to go Florida. I think I’d like the colours there.
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Tell us about your empowering ‘Israeli Girls’ book. What was the message behind it and where can our readers get a copy? I’m not sure if there was a big message to the book, I just had a certain nostalgic aesthetic in mind about growing up where I did, which I wanted to recreate for this project. The book is available on my website and in select stores.
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Is book & zine making something you hope to continue in the future? How do you feel about print becoming a tangible object vs the recent push for digital and online magazines? Yeah, I think it’s a really cool format for articulating an idea or a concept, since it’s not an ongoing thing like online and digital platforms.
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Are there any new upcoming projects you’ve been working on that you can tell us about? I’m working on a new book.

Images by Dafy Hagai for Levi’s and for L’officiel Italia, styled by Tanya Jones.