From its foundation in 1948, the state of Israel has felt isolated and under threat from enemies. This collective siege mentality manifests itself with over 1 million public and private shelters, found across the whole country. Israeli law stipulates that every citizen must have access to a shelter that can be sealed in case of an attack with unconventional weapons. The Israelis have integrated these ‘Armageddon rooms’ into their everyday life and ‘transformed’ them into spaces that look like normal dance studios, bars or temples. For many people in Israel who live with a personal history of exile and persecution, these shelters are the architecture of an existential threat – both real and perceived.
Adam Reynolds shot the images over the course of three years, from 2013 to 2015. The photographs offer a broad cultural and geographical typology of the shelter spaces by documenting them on either side of the Green Line, throughout Israel and the Occupied Territories, in an effort to offer the broadest survey possible. They straddle the distinct worlds of fine art and reportage. “Working in a country like Israel it is difficult, if not impossible, to separate art from social reality”, says Adam Reynolds.