Less than 3o minutes driving distance and a world away. Bnei Brak. How often am I mad at the orthodox Jews infringing on what I feel is my right to live as I choose? Weekly (on a good week …). How often do I take the time to look at “their world” without judgment? I am ashamed to say this does not happen. This Hanukkah was an exception to the rule, and for a couple of hours we wondered through the poorest, and most populated city in Israel - Bnei Brak. The 8th night of Hanukkah and hundreds of Hanukkah menorahs lit the narrow streets. The traditional ones, with olive oil, not the convenient candles we use at home. Most menorahs are in a glass “house” - something I see for the first time. I walk on a main street in the very center of my country, and it feels as if I am on Mars. Shops for men only (have you ever seen a shop filled with black male shoes?). “Kosher” phones (no internet access), every street corner filled with donation boxes, our guide tells us that on Friday you can see packages left on street corners for needy people to take. The streets are dirty but on these streets, a mom can leave her toddler in a stroller unattended - without worrying. A sense of community I have not seen anywhere else. Walking through the winding alleys filled with people dressed in their own dress code, living by their own rules I am reminded of the words of the Baal Shem Tov, the founder of the Hasidic Judaism (many of the Hasidim live in Bnei Brak) about us judging others, and what does it say about us. “ …should you look upon your fellow man and see a blemish, it is your own imperfection you are encountering - you are being shown what it is you must correct within yourself”. Worth keeping in mind next time I judge others. Maybe some of the Hanukkah light penetrated deeper this year ….
Saying my goodbyes. To the beach, the gardens, the art and the streets. This time, I took my camera (testing the new Pancro 400 film) to Venice. About 45 minutes walk from Santa Monica and light years away. The ultimate blend of Van Gogh murals and Green doctors, public opinion on display ("f**k Trump" shorts ???) alongside "The Shul on the beach". Homeless and muscle beach. Loneliness, dreams and living art. Farewell Venice, will miss you, stay well.
The year is almost ending and the holidays are just such a good time to feel thankful, and it seems I'm best at expressing myself camera in hand. On the first Hanukkah night, despite still being down with the flu, I could not refrain from photographing. No big celebrations, just small everyday moments I am thankful for. The well dressed snowmen puppet I got as Hanukkah gift, our funny, loving cats and their gifts (no, we did not buy them gifts, our friends did. It seems we have now five different types of mice toys scattered all over the house. )
This was a good year, I learned a lot, created quite a bit, grew up as a person. I am truly thankful for all the people in my life that made this year so special, love you so much!
Looking forward to a great 2017, and meanwhile - happy Holidays everyone!!!
No place is boring if you have a pocket full of unexposed film, said Robert Adams. Or maybe just an iPhone....
I usually do not photograph on my morning walks. After all, this is the only exercise I get, I'd better try to keep up a good pace and burn some calories. Once in a while, my solitary walk is replaced by a more leisurely walk & chat with my friend Patti. On these occasions, we walk the length of the Palisade park overlooking the beach and the adjoining streets. Beautiful but nothing extraordinary. Until you take a second look.
The memorial plaque under the bench - who was Marion? Who loved her enough to have her immortalized in the rose garden? A hidden gate leading from the front garden - to where? A tiny plant the color of the Mediterranean sky, a lion head at the bottom of the wall. Why is he there? How can one not smile at Lulu the dog or at Moses who is lying on the bench, his head on his owner's lap?
No place is boring, and not because of the unexposed film or iPhone in the pocket, but because having them makes us look rather than see. And once we look, we notice the details and realize what great photographers said a long time ago: no place is boring. And photography - its not really about the equipment...