We spent the morning yesterday at the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv. The focus was on the two exhibitions of photography that are scheduled to close this weekend, we visited a few more, actually all had photography as their only or principal means of expression.

 

(video source ScottishParl)

 

World Press Photo http://www.worldpressphoto.org/ is a foundation that supports high quality photo-journalism and documentary photography. It organizes each year a contest where the best photos published in the press are being gathered and get recognition through prizes which are probably the most important in photo-journalism. The exhibitions with the best photographs of the year are organized world-wide.

 

source http://horiwood.com/category/bibi-aisha/

 

The show in Tel Aviv presented exhibition 2011 – the winners and their works can be seen at http://www.worldpressphoto.org/winners/2011. The photography of the year was the portrait of the young Afghan woman Bibi Aisha disfigured as a punishment by the Taliban for fleeing he husband’s house after being subjected to a forced marriage, photo taken by the South African Jodi Bieber for the cover of TIME Magazine. An interview with the photographer can be read at http://edinburghfestival.list.co.uk/article/35454-world-press-photo-2011-in-edinburgh-jodi-bieber-interview/.

 

source http://edinburghfestival.list.co.uk/article/35454-world-press-photo-2011-in-edinburgh-jodi-bieber-interview/

 

I was impressed by the striking picture which got the first prize in the Nature category, took by Thomas Peschak a contributing photographer to National Geographic representing a Cape gannet landing during the nesting season.

 

source http://www.pragmatiko.it/tag/ivo-saglietti/

 

The majority of the photos in the exhibition present a distressing view of a world full of violence, conflicts, natural catastrophies than men are unable to cope with, or made worse by human. I have chosen to show here a less graphic picture (there are pleny of those, you can see them on the Web site) by extremely expressive taken by the Italian photographer Ivo Saglietti which gethers the attention of the viewer on human grief.

 

source Shmuel Lesched

 

The World Press 2011 exhibition is joined in the same pavilion by the Israeli replica Local Testimony 2011 (see also http://www.edutmekomit.co.il/en/2011-exhibition/gallery.aspx) which shows the best journalism and documentary photos taken in Israel and the Palestinian territories. The reality shown here is complex and violent, full of conflicts and oddities. Have a look on the Web site! I have chosen a photo by  Lior  Patel whose Web page can be accessed at http://www.liorpt.com/. It shows a character and tells a story which I believe is so significant for the place where we live. The man in the photo is Shmuel Lesched, he is a Holocaust survivor aged 100, who callks himself Der MusikClown, making a precarious living on the streets of Haifa and Tel Aviv.

 

source http://www.israeldailypicture.com/2011/12/yemenite-jews-american-colony.html

 

A Yemenite Portrait is another exhibition which opened recently, telling a different type of story. It gathers photographs (some of striking quality and expressiveness) and documentary material from the history of the Yemenite Jews, telling the story of a community which started to return to the land of Israel at the end of the 19th century, but also of the relation with the more majority (then) Jewish community of immigrants from Europe who were also the photographers who took most of the pictures.

More information and reviews of the exhibition can be found at

http://www.israeldailypicture.com/2011/12/yemenite-jews-american-colony.html

http://www.jpost.com/ArtsAndCulture/Arts/Article.aspx?id=252357&R=R77

 

source http://www.eretzmuseum.org.il/e/170/

 

Aproximately in the same period were taken most of the photos in the exhibition named Images from the Land of the Bible The photographers where the Christian inhabitants of the American Colony, the photos where taken between 1898 and 1935, and many of them ended  in the US Library of Congress as one of the latest photographers took them to the US at the end of the 30s. The technique is colored printings of the originally black-and-white photos, and they present a different angle then the pictures taken by the Jewish inhabitants of the same period which focused on the life of the Jewish settlers working and fighting to turn the Zionist dream into reality. The American Colony photographers took mostly pictures of the Arab inhabitants, with an idealistic view that projected their way of life against the Biblical landscape. As the Yemenite portraits exhibit this was another variant of the Orientalistic approach.

 

source http://www.eretzmuseum.org.il/e/126/

 

The last exhibition we saw yesterday was ATA – Factory, Fashion and Dream which introduces the visitors into the history of one of the factories that marked the industrial development of Jewish Palestine and later Israel in the first decades of its existence. Founded by the Czech Jewish family Moller in the 30s, ATA was in its half century of existence a model of Zionist entrepreneurship, of early Israel development, capitalist accumulation and work conflicts, symbol of local and international fashion. By the mid 80s the realities of the fast progressing modern industry pushed ATA as the whole textile industry in crisis. I remember (this was in our first years in Israel) the protests, the dismay, the way it ended. One of the Israeli legends.