Quick Shot: Signs of Summer

It's June.... which means summer is here! Although its still cold and dreary here in England, that wasn't the case in Tel Aviv, where it's almost always in-season to wear shorts and a bathing suit! I took all of these photographs along the boardwalk that runs along the Tel Aviv coastline, and tonight I'm asking which of these photographs puts you in the summer feeling?

All shot with the Leica SL and 24-90mm Vario-Elmarit lens.

Quick Shots: A Harsh Reality

As beautiful as the Middle East is, it's hard to ignore the turmoil and near-constant conflict that hangs over the region. Israel - a country that can polarize - had many sobering reminders of the bullets shot and lives lost over this contentious property. As a photographer, it is important that I capture these uglier reminders of our world; my camera is an opportunity to show people the most beautiful parts of our planet and remind them of our less proud moments.

These two photographs capture what I believe is the essence of conflict in the Levant region. The first is part of a building just miles from Gaza. The holes in the side of the building are bullet holes - reminders of previous conflicts between Hamas and the Israeli military. If you look closely, you can also see Hebrew and Arabic writing on the building's facade.

The second image was taken in the north of Israel, in the Golan Heights, and is part of a UN Disengagement Observer Force post looking into Syria. In the background of the image is Syria - I could hear artillery and gunfire in the distance. These UN observers are stationed on this hilltop as a neutral force to monitor that Israeli and Syrian military forces respect a 1973 agreement to establish a buffer zone between Israel and Syria. 

I am very fortunate; there are no bullet holes on the buildings around my home and there are no UN observers in my backyard. The local reminders of war and conflict date to the 1940s or cold war - they are not reminders of a current and ongoing fight. Seeing (and hearing) the ever-present evidence of Middle East conflict was extremely sobering, and I believe it's just as important to capture as the beautiful sights.

Shot with the Leica Camera SL and 24-90mm SL Lens.

Quick Shot: Orthodox

The Orthodox Jews are one of the not-so-subtle reminders that Israel isn't like most places in the Middle East. Traveling to the Jewish quarter of Jerusalem and seeing the Western Wall (aka the Wailing Wall) and meeting some of the wonderful people there was really a powerful experience.

This man was sitting in a shady spot not far from one of the most special sites in Judaic history - the Western Wall. He invited me over to and said a prayer for me. I thought it was very symbolic for this area of the world - one of the few places where several religions have fought for years to defend their holy ground. And although I am sure he knew I am not of the Jewish faith, I appreciated his outreach and goodwill gesture to pray for me. It touched me as a compassionate human to meet someone so kind and it helped restore my faith in humanity - that maybe one day the good people of the world will outnumber those full of hate.

Portrait made with the Leica Camera SL and 24-90mm lens.