Rachel Papo, Carrying a stretcher, Tsaelim, Israel
Carrying a stretcher in the rain
Rachel Papo. Lookout duty, Tsaelim, Israel
Lookout duty at the observation tower
Rachel Papo, Instruction hand grenade throwing, Israel
Instruction on hand grenade throwing
Rachel Papo, Talking to family, Shaare Avraham, Israel
Talking to family during a break from basic training
Rachel Papo, Military kiosk counter, Shaare Avraham, Israel
Military kiosk counter
Rachel Papo, Sniper instructor, Kibbutz Kfar Hanassi, Israel
A sniper instructor outside her room
Rachel Papo, Holding bibles, Shaare Avraham, Israel
Holding bibles during the swearing-in ceremony
Rachel Papo, Before first shooting practice, Nitzanim, Israel
Before the first shooting practice
Rachel Papo, Outside Bar
Outside bar on Alenby Street
Rachel Papo, Training policewomen, Beit Lid, Israel
Training policewomen
Rachel Papo, Patrolling camp, Tsaelim, Israel
Patrolling camp
Rachel Papo, After throwing grenade, Israel
After throwing a grenade for the first time
Rachel Papo, Getting a ride, Israel
Getting a ride from the base
Rachel Papo, Relaxing at home, Kibbutz Kfar Hanassi, Israel
Relaxing at home
Rachel Papo, Getting ready, Rosh Pina, Israel
Getting ready
Rachel Papo, On the train going home, Tel Aviv, Israel
On the train going home
Rachel Papo, Shopping for groceries, Tel Aviv, Israel
Shopping for groceries
Rachel Papo, Stepping outside for a cigarette before shower, Shaare Avraham, Israel
Stepping outside for a cigarette before taking a shower
Rachel Papo, Guarding the entrance, Nitzanim, Israel
Guarding the entrance to the shooting range

At the age of eighteen, Israeli girls enter a two-year period in which they will be transformed from girls to women under the Israeli Defense Forces, a rigorous institution where individuality comes second to nationalism. Rather than portraying the soldier as heroic, confident, or proud, Papo’s photographs reveal the soldier and the teenage girl in constant negotiation, caught between two extremes: a soldier who lives on an army base with hundreds just like her, and an individual who wishes to be noticed.

Photographer Rachel Papo, who was serial no. 3817131 during her service in the Israeli Air Force, considers these photographs a bridge between past and present–each is a self portrait that explores the complex range of emotions inherent in all adolescents, showing the vulnerable side of each soldier.

Work by Rachel Papo

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