In 2005, a small group of students from the Geographic Photography College in Tel Aviv began traveling to the Palestinian village of Bil’in in the West Bank. The students, three of them from Israel and one from Argentina, were photographing weekly protests against the construction of the Separation Wall—a barrier built by Israel ostensibly for security reasons—that cut off villagers’ access to most of their farmland.
The students were looking to use their images of the protests in Bil’in to show the conflict from the Palestinian’s perspective and bring more awareness of the occupation into the minds of Israelis. By the end of the school year, they had formed into a photo-collective called Activestills. The collective was made up of freelance photographers who were united in their politics against the occupation and who agreed to share the credit and copyright to all their photos. They also shared a belief, expressed in the collective’s mission statement, that they could change Israeli public support for the occupation—which was heavily influenced by the mainstream Israel media—through the publication of their photos.