Tamim · Zack Balber

Balber uses portrait photography to uncover the camouflaged identity of some of Judaism’s most unconventional Jews. Balber, Jewish himself, connected with the men he photographed while rediscovering his own lineage.

Instead of valuing their heritage, many of the men he depicted had adopted tough-guy personas and hidden behind tattoos, which are forbidden in Jewish culture. When approached with the opportunity to be photographed as Jews — wearing the yarmulke that Balber wore for his bar mitzvah — these ordinarily recalcitrant men let go of their powerful exteriors. The result was a startling series of photographs of shirtless, heavily tattooed men whose insecurities and vulnerabilities shine through. Wearing the yarmulke, the men said, made them feel a spiritual reconnection to their culture. Tamim is a Hebrew word that is sometimes used to denote perfection. Balber has said that he considers his subjects as "perfectly imperfect, proud, unashamed, vulnerable, scared, confident and insecure."

Balber attended the University of Florida, New World School of the Arts.