Archive for February, 2011
“The difference between great people and everyone else is that great people create their lives actively, while everyone else is created by their lives, passively waiting to see where life takes them next. The difference between the two is the difference between living fully and just existing”
San Telmo Market, Buenos Aires, February 2011
Another image from San Telmo Market on a Sunday, where all Street performers are out in the streets promoting themselves or promoting a show. I was visiting San Telmo that morning with two other friends. At a certain point we decided to split for an hour or two and everyone went to her own direction. I was walking around the side streets of this crowded -buzzing area on a Sunday when I saw this timeless character who was promoting a Tango show while he was playing the main character. I must admit that at first I wasn’t really that curious to photograph him, as I thought to myself I would see more of his kinds along the street. But there was something in his gesture and humble eyes and maybe a slight of a begging look, that made me take a picture. When he realized I was about to take his picture, he stood straight and still and looked directly to my camera, as he was already ‘trained’ to be photographed. Only when I got back to my hotel and edited the photos, I realized how powerful and engaging his image was. So engaging that it got me a cover on one of the travel magazines in Israel.
I left my heart in Paris…
…And it wasn’t a hard thing to do.
I think the trigger was the new Woody Allen’s movie I just saw ‘Midnight in Paris’, recognizing some of the places and locations I have just visited on this trip. I love watching movies and recognize the locations, knowing I was actually walking on those streets, eating in that and that restaurant or saw the same views the hero of the movie was looking at. It happens to me a lot when I watch a movie about New York. I remember the first movie I watched on the first Summer I lived in New York, a movie that showed some iconic places and locations on the Upper West side and it made me feel like a REAL New Yorker. I had the same feeling watching ‘Midnight in Paris’ right from the start when Gil (Owen Wilson) and Inez (Rachel McAdams) were standing on a bridge, looking at the water lilies in Claude Monet’s garden in Giverny, a place I have just visited few hours earlier.
I left my heart in Paris… or was it because what the movie said: ‘Paris in the morning is beautiful, Paris in the afternoon is charming, Paris in the evening is enchanting, but Paris after midnight is Magic’
As a travel photographer, I am always inspired to take candid shots of the places and the locations I visit. In contrast with the Fashion Photography arena, where usually everything should be just perfect and beautiful, and in contrast with the Documentary Photography arena, where everything is so honest, bold and sometimes ‘in your face’, I juggle between the desire to show the reality around me while also making it pretty and aesthetic. I’m driven by the wish to create ‘A Portrait of a City’ and its’ various layers. (with a tendency for aesthetic and interesting)
Ask any artist, and he/she will tell you that one of the things they are always looking for is inspiration; the inspiration to create. And inspiration can come in so many different ways. In my latest visit to Paris, I was quite inspired by the permanent collection of various Impressionist Painters in Musee d’Orsay, also known as the ‘Temple of Impressionism’. I always had a great admiration for the European Impressionist painters, and among my favorite are Edgar Degas, Camille Pissaro and Claude Monet.
After paying a visit to Musee d’Orsay, it was very natural for me to continue and visit the Claude Monet foundation in Giverny (where he lived from 1886 till his death in 1926) and see with my own eyes the water lilies, the garden, and the Japanese bridge which all played an important role in his later paintings. Since I was inspired by the exhibit I saw and the beautiful brushstrokes techniques, and although I don’t usually photograph flowers or plants, (hardly ever do I photograph flowers just like that) it was quite obvious for me that I was going to shoot Monet’s garden in an unconventional way. I wanted to photograph the garden in such a way that will relate to Monet and his art, a way that will ‘talk’ in the language of impressionism, in brushstrokes. Therefore, I chose to use the lensbaby SLR lens with a pre cut star-shape aperture disk, to create a sort of brushstroke affect in the photos.
The lensbaby is a creative effects SLR lens that creates a Sweet Spot of focus surrounded by a graduated blur. A swivel ball allows tilting the lens depending on the effect you want to create. (Blur, lesser blur, circles, etc’) The aperture is controlled by a set of disks that come with the optics and they are held in place by shielded magnets and can be easily changed. The wider the aperture in the lensbaby, the more blur it gets and a smaller sweet spot, where the photo is sharpest. The exposure is easily controlled with shutter speed and ISO adjustments in the camera. It can also be balanced by swapping out aperture disks.
As pictures might often be ‘too honest’, using the lensbaby allowed me to deconstruct the image, to shape it in order to create a new truth, a new reality, an Impressionistic photo.
If you visit Giverny, I highly recommend (beside visiting Claude Monet’s house and gardens) to spend some time walking around the village, see some old Churches from Middle Ages time, visit Mills that some of them can be found in Monet’s paintings or spend the night at one of the Castles (Chateau) and feel like you are living in one of Claude Monet’s Impressionistic picture.
“…Every time we meet it’s like time never changed at all…”
San Telmo Market, Buenos Aires, February 2011
San Telmo on a Sunday is completely something different than San Telmo on a regular day. The bohemian neighborhood is getting packed with Arts, Antiques, Tango dancers, street performers and timelessness characters. After a while, when it got too crowded, I stepped into a courtyard in one of the alleys. I climbed to one of the building’s rooftops to get a better view of San Telmo when I saw these two people. I liked how they both wore the some colors of clothes, the same gesture with their hands and up till now, I don’t know what the woman was looking for in her bag and wether the man was waiting for her.
Drinking ice cold Havana’s coffee with dulce de leche alfajores 2 times a day, taking the subte instead of the subway, walking the streets of Palermo SoHo and not the streets of SoHo New York, Evita Peron museum, Colon Theater, Muma’s sugary cupcakes, Casa Rosada, walking the streets of palermo Hollywood and hoping to see a famous movie star, Antique market in San Telmo, Brunch in San Telmo and cold beer in Caminito, La Boca. Witnessing the wild crowds coming out of a Futball game after their team won, Bar 6 at Armenia street, stopping at every coffee place or a store in Nicaragua street, streets with names of countries in Latin America. Over looking the city from Palacio Barolo just before the sun goes down, convincing the concierge at the Moreno Hotel to let me take pictures from the private rooftop.
Recoleta. Recoleta cemetery. and Recoleta again the next day. Walking in the area of San Martin and San Nicolas and feels like in Paris, Plaza de Mayo, Libros del Pasaje, best book store in Palermo. Fresh squeeze orange juice almost every day, watching the locals dance Tango and Milonga along the river, hoping there will be a beach, and not just a river, yummy cheese and chocolate at Cucina Paradiso, Helena trendy Bar Resto, crossing the bridge of Puente de la Mujer toward Puerto Madero, 7pm drinks at Faina Hotel (is a must) candle light dinner at Artemisia, kissing a last kiss at the cutest cafe El Ultimo Beso, joining the tour of Graffiti Mundo and see the most beautiful Graffiti wall after I thought I have seen it all. Taking a boat around Tigre, buying a floral summer dress and getting the kick of walking in shorts on February…priceless!
In recent years, Buenos Aires has become more and more popular among tourists (not necessarily from Latin America) and, as the economy stabilized, the city has become attractive among foreign investors, too. The question is no longer ‘Will I visit Buenos Aires’ but ‘When will I?’ And ‘when’ is actually NOW: December to March are summertime in Argentina, making the city more attractive among tourists from Europe and North America. (What can be more enjoyable than walking in shorts in the middle of February while the New Yorkers are bundled up with heavy coats?)
What most attracted me to Buenos Aires — besides having the summer to myself in mid-February — is the strong street art scene graffitied on the walls of the city. As a photographer who closely watches street artists in New York, Buenos Aires certainly was for me the next obvious target.
Here are few things to do in your next trip to Buenos Aires:
* Take a guided tour to Palacio Barolo and climb to its top to observe the city from a bird-eye view. The building, which is built in neo-Romantic, neo-Gothic style, is an allegory to the ‘Divine Comedy‘ written by Dante in the early 14th century. The building is 22 stories high, and the top floor is a transparent tower that used to be a beacon. The tour guide talks about the history and the architecture of this marvelous tower.
* Many call Buenos Aires ‘The Paris of Latin America’. Taking an afternoon stroll in San Martin and Place St. Nicolas across from Theater Colon brings to mind the feeling of exploring Parisian alleys from the 16th century.
* The ancient cemetery, La Recoleta, is one of the most-touristed destinations in Buenos Aires and one of the world’s most famous cemetery as it is also the burial place of Evita Peron. Originally it was a courtyard of a monastery, converted into a cemetery in 1822. With the spread of yellow fever at the end of the 18th century, many of the wealthy people of Buenos Aires moved to Recoleta neighborhood, and gradually the cemetery became the final resting graveyard of the wealthy and powerful people of the city. The sculptured buildings and turrets of the family vaults hint at the richness of lives of the people buried here.
* The Palermo area, which is divided to Palermo SoHo, Palermo Hollywood and Palermo Viejo, is a residential area with heavy cottonwood trees along the streets and a colorful concentration of new cafes, little piazzas, trendy restaurants, galleries and boutiques of young designers. This is the hub of the young and beautiful, an artistic suburb where you can easily find some of the most well known graffiti walls and murals in Buenos Aires.
La Boca area is one of Buenos Aires most-visited areas but also one with the highest level of crime. The area was once populated mostly by Italian immigrants but now it is the seat of the under-class. The main street in La Boca is called La Caminito and is characterized by a row of colorful buildings that once were Tango halls and brothels but are now turned into pizzerias, souvenir shops and touristic bars. Take a walk in La Caminito street, preferably during daylight.
* San Telmo Antique market on Sunday is a great opportunity to come across colorful characters, tango dancers, street vendors and street actors. San Telmo is considered the oldest quarter in Buenos Aires, filled with old churches, tile-decorated courtyards, pinnacles and domes. It is also called the tango district as there are quite a few tango halls in this area and milonga clubs. During the week this area is pretty quiet, so better plan your visit towards the weekend.
* Don’t skip Puerto Madero area. This is the city’s port area that used to be occupied with factories and warehouses; in recent years the industrial buildings have been replaced by luxury apartments that attract the young and affluent crowd. The area is considered now one of the trendiest and most exclusive areas of Buenos Aires. Walk across Puenta de la Mujer and don’t miss the Faena Hotel, designed by Philippe Starck, that feels like it was taken from one of Almadovar’s movies. Visit the neighborhood during the evening and dine in one of the bustling gourmet restaurants.
Graffiti Mundo: Take a vibrant walking tour following graffiti artists in Buenos Aires’s neighborhoods
Tagui Restaurant: Fine Argentinian cuisine in one of the city’s best restaurants. Don’t let the graffiti-covered facade fool you: Reservations are a must.
Fundacion Proa: A series of galleries filled with natural light that taken together are one of the most interesting centers of contemporary South American art.
Eve Peron Museum: Located in Palermo, this museum follows the life of the most powerful woman in Argentina, Evita Peron.
My photographed article about Buenos Aires and six top locations to see and visit is featured in ‘Maslul’, the Travel section of Yediot Ahronot news publication, Israel. My image made it to the cover.
Like a lot of things in life, this photography project started with a random image. Like a lot of times in life, sometimes you have to get away from a place in order to rediscover it. These two sentences basically initiated my on-going photography project called “Intimacy Under the Wires.”
As a street photographer based in New York City, I hardly (if ever) come across the sight of laundry hung outside windows to get dry. It was a very common thing for me to see, however, when I grew up in Israel.
I was on a holiday visit to Israel on April 2010 when it all started.
I made plans to meet a friend at the flea market in old Jaffa and he was late. While waiting for him, I wandered the quiet back streets of this old and vivid neighborhood, when a woman’s voice from an upper floor caught my attention. I looked up and saw her hanging her laundry outside the balcony. For some, it may be an ordinary chore, but I haven’t seen that since I moved to Manhattan 10 years ago. I stayed there, standing in the street under the crumbling balcony, and observed her. Few minutes after she hung her clothes, a warm breeze from the sea came by and animated them.
I just had to take a picture!
After Tel Aviv, I had a stop in London for few days, and then there was the eruption of Eyjafjallajökull, so I got stuck for a week there. I used the time to walk in the streets of London and take a lot of pictures. I was in Brixton, London, when I took this image, which is one of my favorites.
I think this image made me wonder about the people who wear these clothes. I really wanted to know more about them. What they do for a living? How do they look? But mostly wanted to know about their character. So I think this image really made me think further.
From looking at someone’s laundry we can tell so much about them and their families without even meeting them. Some have all work shirts, some party dresses, some uniforms, children’s clothes, tank tops, t-shirts, sexy lingerie and so on.
Laundry is something so personal and private yet so public. Looking at laundry seems so mundane, yet when you delve into it, you realize laundry tells of people’s intimate lives. They hang their sheets, their night clothes, even their underwear for all to see. We would never expose these personal things if we were actually in them, would we?
This project, which was named by Phaidon “Intimacy Under the Wires,” is not just about laundry.
It is about the differences among the cultures, the places and the people who wear these clothes. I love traveling to different places, taking portraits of city streets and their dynamics. I often say that I don’t take people’s portraits but cities’. Since that afternoon in Israel, I am drawn to images of laundry.
In every city there is that area, usually in old neighborhoods, where laundry is hung up outdoors. It amazes me to see how laundry is similar in different countries and cultures and yet so different. When I take a picture of laundry I always make sure to relate it to its location. Whether it’s a street sign, a building, a window, I am also interested in the texture and colors of the buildings where the laundry is out to dry.
Another layer hidden or not hidden in this project, beside intimacy, is our urge toward voyeurism. We are all voyeurs. Photographers maybe more than others.
When I shoot these images, I am standing under the laundry wires and waiting for the right moment, when a breeze passes by and brings life, energy and rhythm to the clothes. I find laundry very intimate and sexy, and when I shoot, the act of looking up, is like the feeling of being under someone, unseen, a voyeur, a spy, like sitting under the boardwalk at the beach and watching people walk by, unaware. And this is actually what we photographers mostly do: spy with our cameras and tell stories with the images.
“Intimacy Under the Wires” is an on-going project. It has been featured in the following blogs: Phaidon, Design Sponge, Design Milk, Feature Shoot, Trend Hunter, aCurator