The accidental tour exhibition

Rebecca Kowalsky's colorful photos of Hawaii take center stage at the Jerusalem Theater.

talit field photo 88.298 (photo credit: )
talit field photo 88.298
(photo credit: )
Rebecca Kowalsky was shocked when told her photos had been chosen to be displayed in an exhibition at the Jerusalem Theater. "The committee called to say they loved them," she recalls. "It was just a dream come true." Her colorful exhibit, which opened February 16, is composed of 32 photographs taken during a two-week trip to Hawaii with her husband, who arranged the trip to celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary. "He knew that as a photographer it was the best gift he could give me," she says. "In Hawaii, you can't turn your head and not want to take a picture. It's absolutely beautiful." Kowalsky and her husband visited Maui, Kauai and Big Island, and her photographs reflect the vibrant life she witnessed there. Sea turtles and horses, waterfalls, palm trees and local children in the marketplace are just some of the vivid images Kowalsky captured. Each of the three islands they explored were remarkably different, Kowalsky noted - Kauai is green, lush and clean, Maui is green but more commercial, and Big Island (home of the now-dormant Kilauea volcano) is drier and filled with lava rock. Her collection portrays these distinct elements. Noticeably absent from the exhibit were photos of picture-perfect beaches and sunsets - which, explains Kowalsky, was intentional. "I wanted to find more people, more color and angles; not necessarily postcard photos," she explains. "The soul of my photography has to go beyond the landscape - you're in a place you're trying to depict to others and to yourself." One of her most popular photos is that of a man - her husband - praying outside with a tallis over his head, but her personal favorite is a photo of a colorful group of kids carrying a long canoe over their heads out of the ocean. Photography has been her hobby since she was a child, Kowalsky says, and though she has often volunteered for programs such as the Raise Your Spirits theater group, once people saw her work, they started hiring her. Now Kowalsky does photography for weddings and britim, among other events, as well as portraiture, and she maintains that her work always has an artistic bent. She also does landscape photography throughout Israel and in Gush Etzion, where she now resides after having made aliya in 1985. The Hawaii exhibit is Kowalsky's biggest yet, and she attributes her success to her deep passion for photography. "When you really love what you do," she says, "there's a life that comes out in the final product, and that's what you see here." Kowalsky's exhibition can be viewed at the Jerusalem Theater until March 19, and more of her work can be found on her Web site: All the prints are for sale.