Itamar Freed grew up reading National Geographic, seeing images of wildlife and landscapes from around the world through a magazine. He is not a travel photographer but an artist who examines three types of domains: the wild and uninhabited natural habitat; the cultural landscape of the city; and the staged environment. His body of work questions the discreteness of these categories, particularly as they brush up against one another in museums, zoos, and gardens. As a photographer, Freed is interested in representation and how images of places may come to displace or augment our understanding and memory of them. He is concerned with disappearing terrains, but also with vanishing notions of realness—whether in the form of a simulated environment (such as an indoor rainforest exhibit at a zoo in Northern Europe) or a digital photograph of unknown veracity. Many of the natural scenes in Freed’s oeuvre are locations he has never visited, but which he has conjured all the same. In his practice, he explores how we come to understand what is “real” through replicas and how we imagine the places we have never been.
Freed earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem and his Master of Fine Arts degree from the Royal College of Art in London. His work has been shown in solo exhibitions in London, Sydney, New York, and Tel Aviv. In 2019, he participated in an artist residency at Everglades National Park, Florida, with choreographer Courtney Scheu, observing and experiencing the landscape and ultimately producing an interdisciplinary, site-specific work.