Serial No. 3817131

by Rachel Papo

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ISBN: 9781576874318

by Rachel Papo
Foreword by Charles H. Traub

Women’s Studies / Military / Israeli Studies
9 x 11.5 inches
128 pages
70 four-color photographs
ISBN: 978-1-57687-431-8

At an age when social, sexual, and educational
explorations are at their highest point, the
lives of Israeli teenage girls are interrupted. Trained
to become soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces, a
rigorous institution where individuality comes second
to nationalism, these new recruits pledge, “I hereby
swear…to devote all my strength, and even sacrifice my life, to the defense of the country and the freedom of Israel.” They then enter a two-year period in which they will change from girls to women, from adolescents to adults under a militaristic, masculine environment engaged in daily war and conflict.

Photographer Rachel Papo, who was Serial No. 3817131
during her service in the Israeli Air Force from 1988–1990,
reveals these young girls caught in transient moments of
self-reflection and uncertainty, as if stuck in a state of
contradiction. 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 surrounded by
hundreds just like her, but underneath her uniform, there is
an individual who wishes to be noticed. Serial No. 3817131,
Papo’s first book, explores the personal, complex, and
delicate spectrum of emotions inherent in all adolescents,
showing the vulnerable side of the righteous solider.

American-born Israeli Rachel Papo began working as a
photojournalist in the late 1990s and graduated from the
School of Visual Arts with an MFA in photography in 2005.
Works from Serial No. 3817131 are in several public and
private collections; have been exhibited at Griffin Museum
of Photography, Boston; the 92nd Street Y, New York; Paul
Kopeikin Gallery, Los Angeles; and Photographic Center
Northwest, Seattle; and, have been published in the U.S.,
Germany, Israel, Switzerland, Spain, France, Brazil, Estonia,
Hong Kong, China, and Turkey. Papo has won many awards,
including selection as a finalist for the Santa Fe Prize
for Photography and a 2006 NYFA Fellowship. She lives
in Brooklyn.

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