Israeli born photographer Rubi Lebovitch’s first book, Home Sweet Home, is not your usual house warming gift. At first look, it could be deemed a more appropriate gift for a Halloween or April Fool’s day celebration. That’s because Lebovitch photographs everyday household items and domestic situations with a certain sense of humor and uncanniness.
One photograph, for example, shows a woman eating a table full of spaghetti. “It took me four hours of cooking thirty pounds of pasta with four bottles of tomato sauce in order to prepare the spaghetti scene,” Lebovitch tells TIME. The photo shoot had to take place in minutes before the pasta turned into a gooey mess. “The model had to take a big bite from something that wasn’t really edible,” says Lebovitch.
When the work was first exhibited last year, Lebovitch brought some of the props to the gallery space. “I love the combination of two-dimensional and three-dimensional when the viewer can really feel the work as he passes through them,” he says. That desire to take his viewer on an unnerving journey through his warped domestic bliss came about when Lebovitch started spending more time at home with his new born twins, as he describes to Photo District News. Lebovitch is inspired by conceptual artists, who use the medium of photography, including Gabriel Orozco and Erwin Wurm. “I admire their ability to take an idea or an object and with a small manipulation to make it into something completely different and sophisticated,” he says. “They use the simplest everyday objects at home and on the street and transform it to a clever, humorous and intelligent art.”
Arriving from a background in street photography, Lebovitch now wants to take this domestic work in a new direction, reinventing himself, he says, like the masters of photography – from Robert Frank to Garry Winogrand – used to. “[They] always did street photography but knew how to reinvent themselves,” he says.
Rubi Lebovitch is a photographer based in Israel. His book, Home Sweet Home, is published by Daylight Books.
Michelle Molloy is a senior international photo editor at TIME.