I am often asked for pictures that show the “real” Israel, but what the client wants are images from a very narrow range of cliché shots that are recognizable as Israel without a caption. By that definition, olive trees or the Banyas waterfall, anything other than the Old City ramparts, won’t work. As a permanent resident of Israel, I see every blade of grass, every flowering tree or any photo taken in the land as a legitimate picture of Israel. Sometimes a few words are necessary to augment a photograph’s meaning.

This week’s photo is an abstract rendering of the side of an old house in Jerusalem’s Nahlaot neighborhood.

It could have been taken almost anywhere, but for those who frequent this neighborhood and others like it throughout Israel, it is a familiar sight. Its value as a photograph, to me, lies in the mystery of imagining the various occupants and laborers whose hands touched this wall. Who were they? What were their lives like? What dreams did they chase and what struggles did they endure? I composed this image in an attempt to include all the various colors I spotted and to create tension in the way the depth, edges and patterns fill the space. You can almost touch its rough textures, but nothing comes close to the sheer wonder of who made these marks and what history is enfolded within these walls.

Join Yehoshua Halevi for a Photography Walking Tour on Monday, July 21 at 10 a.m. in Mahaneh Yehuda. To register and for a complete schedule of upcoming workshops, visit www.yehoshuahalevi.com.


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