Leonid Padrul [Leonid Padrul]

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Artist photographer Leonid Padrul, born in the Ukraine in 1950, immigrated to Israel in 1994. From his early twenties he focused his interest on artistic photography, with a great passion for landscape and nature while climbing peaks of his country. His creation may be divided into two periods: The first (1978-1994), includes images taken in his country of origin; the second encompasses a vast body of works done in Israel since his immigration to the country. Both periods are characterized by a special interest in landscape from a personal point of view. Padrul's early works testify to the artist's capabilities ヨ his photographs bear witness to his unique, yet universal, observation of nature. Having conquered mountain peaks, he conjures before our eyes the Dead Sea, a dazzling phenomenon of nature, which for the past decades has been shriveling away, as if succumbing to death and demise. In his pastoral-like photographs of the Dead Sea, unfolding the age old secrets of creation, Padrul achieves the apex of his work, combining a poetry with a philosophical world view. This unique sea located in the lowest place on earth, once the Stradivarius of nature, whose life is waning, has become the target of Padrul's work since his immigration to Israel. Padrul's photographs immortalize the primeval beauty of the dying Sea. The light captured by his camera endows the works with a pastel-color-like quality and a soft diffusing light which takes the viewer into a dream-like reality, where, for a fleeting moment, the hurtful truth is forgotten. The spots from which he takes his photographs enable a rare opportunity to test the sea, its mysteries and the salt crystals morphing into beauty - imbued designs. His camera captures Israeli landscape of yore, recalling primeval recumbent creatures in their place of crouching action-less, as if accepting their fate. Padrul's works has won boundary-crossing acknowledgment among experts and viewers alike. Between the years 1978-1990 he had several solo-shows in Kiev, Kharkov, Sebastopol and Archangelsk. He participated in over 170 gallery shows in Italy, France and Argentina, to mention only a few, and won international prizes, including gold medals in Italy, the Czech Republic and Austria. Since he made Israel his home, Padrul has exhibited his works in numerous local galleries, in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and Rishon Leziyyon amongst others. Padrul is now Director of Photography at the Eretz Israel Museum, Tel Aviv, where he has worked since 1995. This work includes the photographic design of special exhibition catalogues for the Museum. He also undertakes photographic projects for the National Geographic Magazine and was awarded first prize in an international competition of Dead Sea photography. The Israeli cosmetic company, AHAVA, has chosen Padrul's work to enhance the presentation and marketing of the company's products. Padrul's greatest project is his study of the Dead Sea area, for which he has taken thousands of incomparable photographs. The Nature Channel of Israel Television has made a film of Padrul's work. His work has been displayed abroad under the auspices of FIAP, the international federation of artist-photographers. In 2002 the Federation, operating under UNESCO, awarded Leonid Padrul the international title of excellence in artistic photography EFIAP. Amos Aricha Art Critic