Bringing to Israel the international Word Press journalistic photography winners and joining in the same exhibition the Israeli Local Testimony collection has become a tradition, and so is my visiting the show at the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv. I could not miss the 2013 edition.




Selected from over 100,00 entries submitted most of them during 2012, the World Press 2013 edition choices seemed to me less impressive than in the previous years. While in each of the other editions there were a few photographs that I remember well until today, the current one did not offer too many works that I will remember visually next year. The overall mood was also quite somber. Many of photos in the events-related categories were connected to the situation in the Middle East, and with the fading of the hopes of the ‘Arab spring’ and the civil conflicts and extreme Islam offensive that took over the area, they let room to some horrific images. But even out of the area, photojournalism of the year 2013 contained little reasons of optimism.




The ‘Local Testimony’ section occupied this year almost equal area in the interior of the exhibition space. As in the previous years the quality and intensity of the works were in some cases equal to these in the international section. The Israeli section also celebrated ten years since its first occurrence, and this is a good opportunity to see in the show a few of the best photos exposed during the decade.





The big prize of World Press 13 was awarded to a dramatic shot taken in Gaza by the Swede Paul Hansen showing the funeral of two children killed in the military actions of Israel aimed to stop the bombing in the south of Israel. Politics put aside it’s a great photo showing the horrors of war and the price inflected on innocent victims in a year which has seen too many innocent civilian victims all over the Earth.


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The work that impressed me most esthetically belongs actually to the sport photos section. It is taken by Wei Seng Chen and shows the finish of a bull race in Sumatra.





With the Middle East in the center of the news and of the photojournalists some of the entries in the Israeli section seem to be a direct continuation of the works in the international section. Such is the photo taken by Ammar Younis during the protest of the Bedouins against the intentions of the government to relocate them, a move they perceive like endangering their way of life.





Yohann Dobensky took a picture in the more intimate environment of an ultra-orthodox family in pilgrimage at the tombs of the great rabbis in Ukraine. The innocent game of a kid playing with a plastic gun tells a lot about the obsession of the Israeli society, even of its less militaristic circles with weapons.

Even if the awards selection falls behind the one on the previous years, World Press 13 and Local Testimony is a show to visit. More information on the Web site of the museum and on the site of the World Press organization (including images and descriptions of the awarded works) –


The annual exhibition of the best professional photo-journalism pictures of the year, as selected by the World Press jury combined with the selection of the best Israeli press photographs is open as each of the last few years at the Eretz Israel Museum in Tel Aviv. I visited it today, it is open for another couple of weeks and I recommend to all folks interested in art, in reality and in the combination of the two not to miss it.



The World Press Photo competition for 2012 dealt in two rounds of jury selection with photographs reflecting a large number of events that took place in the previous year (2011). It was the year of the Arab Spring, of the social protests all over the world, of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, of the continuous confrontation of man with nature and of nature with man.




Photo of the year was Samuel Aranda’s picture of a mother holding in her arms her son wounded in the protests in Yemen. With it’s Pieta quality this photo may remain one of the iconic images of what is called the Arab Spring, beyond the political approach or opinions one may have about the events.



The photographs in the exhibition belong to professional photographers, people who travel all over, putting their talents to the service of audiences interested in reality but also in sensation, in truth and also in esthetics. Taking some of the these pictures meant also personal risks and a few photo-journalists lost their lives in this eventful year. The questions of the relation between journalism and art, between the documentary value and the beauty of the photographs as art object are still open, such events will not provide necessary responses but material for thought.

Here are a few more pictures from the exhibition.




The earthquake and tsunami in Japan and their aftermath occasioned many spectacular pictures, among which the striking work of Paolo Pellegrin.




Brent Stirton’s photo of armed guards keeping 24 hours shifts around one of the six animals left of their kind surviving in the world tell a lot about

More information about Word Press 12 and more works can be seen at




What did the Israeli photographers catch on their camera during this year? Some of the answers in the Local Testimony section which this year equals in dimensions the international one.

They have photographed the social protest – in this case it’s an episode from one of the demonstrations of the members of the Ethiopian community against discrimination as caught on Uri Sadeh’s camera.




Many photographs and even photography exhibitions (I visited one at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem a few weeks ago) dealt with the ultra-religious community which is ‘re-discovered’ by Israeli secular audiences. This picture with a a classical touch is taken at a wedding by Abir Sultan.




Nature confronting urban reality is the subject of this photo taken in an Israeli city after a strong storm at the end of February last year.


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 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.




The show in Tel Aviv presented exhibition 2011 – the winners and their works can be seen at 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




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.




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 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 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.




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




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.




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.

One of the places where I hope to get in June, when Liliana and me will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary in Paris is a an exhibition open at from April 28th (date of the vernissage) to September 15th at Galerie Wanted, 23 rue du Roi de Sicile.


You can get some information about the gallery at Located in a former factory in the heart of Paris, it offers a generous space to exhibit photographic art and has an amazing Internet presence, also used as a channel to sell the exhibited works.


Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre are the two artists that expose at ‘Wanted’ the exibition dedicated to ‘The Ruins of Detroit’. Born in the suburbs of Paris in 1981 and 1987 respectively, the two artists love to photograph the contemporary ruins of our civilization – from the abandoned cinema theaters in Hollywood to the industrial palaces of the big industries of yesterday. You can learn more about them and especially watch more of their art at


The subject of the current exhibition is the city of Detroit – the imploding former capital of the auto industry of the United States. This is the world caught on screen by Clint Eastwood in his movie ‘Grand Torino’. According to TIME magazine the city lost in the first decade of the 21st century 25% of its population, reaching a full century low figure. Downtown skyscrapers and fastidious theaters in ruins, suburbs reclaimed by a wild vegetation are snap-shoot by the two French artists in troubling images speaking about the timely essence and the ephemeral nature of any civilization. A troubling beauty emanates from the photos.  For those who cannot get to the exhibition and are not satisfied with the Web photos, an album is available on Amazon at

I have spent part of this weekend watching the first episodes of the BBC series The Wonderful World of Albert Kahn - which tells the story of an extraordinary character and of a collection of photographs that keep the visual memory of the world as it was a century ago.

Albert Kahn - source

Albert Kahn was a French Alsatian of Jewish origin who made a fortune at the start of the 20th century and decided to embark in a project that would keep bring together people living in the most remote places of the planet and make them know better each other. He decided to hire cameramen and photographers and use the very recent inventions of motion filming and color photography in order to document life on the most remote places of Earth. A pacifist and an idealist he believed that by helping humans see how other people lived he could bring them together, and avoid conflicts. The history of the 20th century proved him wrong in his pacifist endeavors, but his work built a library of films and photos that keep the visual image of the world as it was 100 years ago, of people, countries and customs that are no more.

woman in Ireland - source

You need to go and explore by yourselves this extraordinary collection of images. Here are a few that were presented in the episodes of the series that I have seen until now. Ireland for example was still part of the United Kingdom by that time, and the last Celtic villages were populated by people like the woman above with the red mantle typical to the area.

Walls of the Forbidden City - source

Albert Kahn took his team into a trip around the world visiting several continents among which Asia. Here is a photo of the Imperial City in Beijing – it was still really the Forbidden City by that time when the last emperor of China ascended to the throne at the age of 2 years. I visited the place just a few months ago and it looks like a different world.

Plaza Hotel in New York - source

People who know New York may be familiar with the 28-store Plaza Hotel in the proximity of Central Park, today crushed by the neighboring sky-scrapers. Around 1910 it was a brand new building dominating the skyline.

Greek inhabitants - source

Kahn and his team visited the Balkans area just before and during the Balkan wars that were the prelude of World War I. He photographed the different communities that were living so close in a limited geographical area, sometimes speaking the same languages and yet so divided by the national and religious differences. He photographed Thessaloniki at a time when the Turkish and Jewish communities were still part of a multinational vibrant city.

soldiers in World War I - source

World War I was a deep shock for the pacifist Kahn, but at the same time he was a French patriot and volunteered to photograph and document the life of the French soldiers and the destruction of war. The result is a realistic and poignant rendition of how human beings behave and suffer when caught in a big conflagration.

The quality of the photography in the collection is amazing. Some of them get to the level of the best pictures in National Geographic and they were taken one century ago! I invite you all to visit the Web site. I plan to include also the museum that keeps the collection and the memory of Albert Kahn on my next visit to Paris –

Andreas Muhe caruia Metropolis i-a dedicat un reportaj pe canalul ARTE este un tanar fotograf german, si fiul regretatului actor Ulrich Muhe, interpetul ofiterului de Stasi din Das Leben der Anderen si al evreului Adolf Israel Grünbaum din Mein Führer – Die wirklich wahrste Wahrheit über Adolf Hitler.

Recent i-a fotografiat pe Kohl, Bush Sr, si Gorbaciov pentru aniversarea celor 20 de ani de la caderea zidului. Sunt fotografiile care deschid expozitia pe care o puteti vedea si pe Internet la In expozitie si fotografii ale lui Egon Krenz, ultimul conducator comunist al RDG-ului ducand o viata de pensionar mic-burghez.

Deutsche Welle i-au dedicat si ei un reportaj:

In aceasi emisiune apare si laureatul premiului Pulitzer Liu Heung Shing care s-a nascut in Hong Kong in 1951 si traieste in America din 1961. Dupa 1978 a inceput sa fotografieze China prinzand schimbarile prin care trece aceasta fscinanta lume de la sfarsitul perioadei lui Mao la dinamica societate si economie de astazi. Iata-l vorbind despre cartea sa de fotografii – China, Portrait of a Country – care incearca sa descrie acest drum si aceste transformari prin fotografii ale vietii de zi cu zi a chinezilor.