Archive for December, 2012
It is quite impossible to sum up a full year in one post or in a few pictures. I’m sure a lot of things that happened I don’t even remember and there are few things I want to forget.
For me, the New Year is always filled with a sense of anticipation but mostly curiosity, followed by a constant obsessed reading of the yearly horoscope’s predictions that I tend to compare from different sources. Looking back at the predictions of 2012, I can’t say my horoscope was right or wrong, vague or clear. It was what it was, and I did what I did. (It doesn’t mean I will stop reading my yearly horoscope predictions for the next year) and yet, 2012 was quite an interesting and a challenging year.
But if I DO need to sum up this year somehow, then I will say that 2012 was the year of Places and People. After all, it is the people you meet through your journeys to make them memorable.
I have travelled to Vietnam in February, a country I’ve always wanted to visit.
An article I read about the Vietnamese food and an image of the lanterns festival I saw in a Nikon magazine, made me book a flight in a short notice and plan my trip by talking to Juliette, my friend, who used to live in Hanoi few years ago and talking to my friend Meirav, who was convinced I can get great images for my portfolio.
As much as I didn’t plan my trip, one thing was planned for sure; I wanted to be in HoiAn on February 5th for the first full moon of the New Year. It was one of the most beautiful ceremonies I have ever seen to welcome the New Year in Vietnam, and if you ever plan a trip there, you should definitely consider it. In Vietnam I was exposed to great street food, even though there were places I couldn’t believe I would eat there, and yet, I survived it and the food was delicious. I met some interesting people, some were travelers like me, I took a midnight train from Hanoi to Sapa, just to realize Sapa was so cloudy and foggy. I got so antsy and impatient to go back that I’ve decided to take a midnight train back on the same day. I was exposed to the un-explained rhythm of the scooters and motorcycles, drank a lot of condense milk (just to realize afterwards how fatty it was) and most important, took tons of pictures.
After Vietnam, on my way back to New York, I had a stop over in Tokyo.
At first, I was supposed to stay in Tokyo only for a 10 hours time in between flights, but Alfredo, one of my close friends who used to live there for few months, encouraged me to stay longer ‘because if you are already in the area…why not to stay?’ He was so right! I was in Tokyo for 72 hours and slept only four hours a night. Tokyo was like a dream come true. Like New York but on Steroids.
As much as Tokyo is crowded and massive and, obviously, I saw only the tip of it, serendipity took a place and led me to have some really great experiences. I was shooting two! articles in three days, and a random conversation with a local fashionista, got me into the hard core of the fashion scene in Tokyo. Never imagined I will do so much in such a short time. To balance out the craziness of this city, Meri, a Japanese friend who I met online and finally got the chance to meet in person, took me to a high-end tea ceremony in Ginza. Even though I didn’t understand a word, I was having the time of my life.
This year I have been to Paris three times!!!
Combining business and pleasure, Paris is becoming one of my most favorite cities (after Manhattan, of course) a city I aim to live in for a few months and experience the ‘La Vie en Rose’. Whenever I have the opportunity, I will go to Paris. Even if it is for a short while. Three times in Paris this year, I had the opportunity to live like a local in different arrondissements and experience the city in so many different ways.
In March I was staying in Montparnasse. I was writing and shooting an article about the design scene in Paris and thanks to some insider information from my friend Anne, who lives in Paris and blogs about it, I got to shoot some new locations, a beautiful Philip Starck’s hotel and some great concept stores.
In June I traveled to Paris mostly to celebrate my birthday in the city of lights but also to shoot some great Parisian apartments. My sister came from Tel Aviv and I came from New York and we met right in the heart of the city, in one of the trendiest neighborhoods in Paris; the Northern Marais (NoMa). Even though it rained on my birthday, that day was very special and an eye opener. During my week in Paris, I met so many new people (some became really dear to me) I met and followed one of my favorite Street Artist and participated in a real French Cooking class.
In October I visited Paris again. This time it was a way different experience than what I knew before. I was invited by Tonya to document with my camera a group of great women who came to Paris to learn how to French Kiss their lives and fall in love with themselves again. Where else if not in Paris, will your senses be alerted and awaken? During this visit I’ve stayed in the high-end 16th arrondissement where I could see the Eifel tower glittering through the living-room’s window and the Arc de Triumph on my way to the Metro station. I was exposed to great restaurants (eight-course dinner, for example) learned some fashion secrets from a real Parisian stylist and finally understood what behind a great perfumes and scents.
These Paris’ glimpses were also a great opportunities to finally meet the people I knew from the online world in reality. (Greg, Ben, Lindsey, Daniel, Gale, Yetunde, Eric and Chef Constance to name a few) Even though these glimpses were short, I am so grateful for these opportunities.
In June I also visited Lisbon for the first time.
I’ve always wanted to visit this city and I can’t pinpoint exactly on the reason. Curiosity for sure. I’ve stayed 48 hours in Lisbon and did so much. I let serendipity play its tricks again and a random turn led me to discover one of the most beautiful castles in Lisbon, write an article about it and become friends with its owner. I traveled to Lisbon with zero expectations but discovered so much. A recommendation from a hotel manager to visit Pharmacia, one of the trendiest restaurants in the city, grabbed my interest to find this place and shoot it. It granted me my debut picture in Travel +Leisure Magazine on November and a private tour by one of the restaurant owners.
And then in September a stop over in Rome, the Eternal City.
I haven’t been to Rome for over five years as I was quite reluctant that some nostalgic moments will get over me. But this current trip to Rome eventually was a closing circle of the past. I met with my Italian friend and colleague Peter and we scrolled the streets of beautiful Trastevere (how did I miss this neighborhood in my previous visit?) and for a second I felt like a character in Woody Allen’s movie ‘To Rome with Love’. I stayed in a great vintage hotel just in the smack of the Colosseum area and yes…I became friends with the owner as well.
But the highlight of my Italian jump (beside missing my suitcase for most of my stay) was a day in Naples.
I admit. I swore to go to Naples in my next opportunity I visit Italy again and so it happened in September. My main goal was to shoot laundry for my on going photography project ‘Intimacy under the Wires’ but my private tour guide Marina, showed me so much of this ambiguous city that one day was surely not enough and left me with a desire to visit this city again.
In between, I’ve spent some time in Tel Aviv.
Even though I am an Israeli, I still can’t call myself a local in Tel Aviv. Spending my recent years in New York and spending the holidays in Tel Aviv still doesn’t grant me that title. Not yet. I enjoy being a semi-tourist in Tel Aviv. Let my friends guide me. Show me new places, recommend me on some great restaurants and even take me for a graffiti tour around. Don’t get me wrong. I am not a stranger in Tel Aviv, but these little discoveries make my stay a little bit more enjoyable. This year I had the honor to have my picture featured on the cover of Hemisphere Travel Magazine and a four-double spread feature in Resource Magazine, in case you are planning your next photo production in this neve-sleep-city.
And then, New York, of course.
I love discovering new places, streets, locations, restaurants, bars and so on so forth in the city I live in. Can’t think of anything in specific but I just enjoy these moments when I take my camera out of my bag to capture some of my favorite frames. I can’t sum up New York for this year. New York has been and will always be a great challenging ride.
As much as I met new and interesting people and made some new friends, there were few friends who disappeared and few I had to let go. That’s the Nature of Relationships, I guess, and as I’ve learned from past experience, I shouldn’t regret it. People come and go for a reason.
Starting tomorrow, I’m sure I will read all the yearly horoscope predictions for 2013. I will probably read the Hebrew and English versions as well.
New Year’s resolutions? It might be too presumptuous for now.
Meanwhile, I will take it one day at a time.
Happy New Year Everyone.
Today, 11 years ago, I came to New York.
It was not my first time (I was 20 years old, right after my army service) nor the second time (a trip with my sister after her travels in South America). It was the third time (I was 26 years old and a bit) but this time was not for a visit. This time was to stay.
I remember landing on the evening of December 30th at JFK airport with two suitcases, a camera and a few books. As much as I played it cool and calm, and obviously very excited for one of the greatest adventures of my life, I was also anxious as hell.
I also remember the brief conversation I had with a guy who was sitting next to me on the plane. (after all, it is a common thing we open our hearts to those sitting next to us on the flight, right?) He gave me some basic tips of ‘how to survive the brutal winter in the city’ and one address where I should buy my first NY coat (Paragon).
Today, but 11 years ago, when the immigration officer asked me what was the purpose of my visit, I wanted to tell him that ‘First, I’ll take Manhattan’ but I quickly realized that immigration officers don’t always get my jokes.
I remember on that cold evening of December 30th, I took the Super Shuttle blue van from JFK and handed the driver a note with an address I have never been in. It was somewhere in Kips Bay on the East Side of the city. The taxi winded through Manhattan to get the passengers to their destinations and at some point it crossed the Theater District, just when the crowds spilled out from the theaters to the cold streets. I remember I was so dazzled by all the lights and the flashy signs, that I promised myself not to live in such a busy bustling area.
Well, so I promised! Who knew that a month and a half later I would find a cute apartment in Midtown Manhattan just a few blocks away from the Theater District? And how naive I was to think there are places in Manhattan that are not crowded.
Today, but 11 years ago the days were post-September 11 and the streets of Manhattan were still covered with gray dust. Garbage and debris were everywhere. The walls in Grand Central station were covered with pictures of missing people and those who were lost. Three plus months after the Twin Towers fell down, people were still hoping to find survivors. In those days post September 11 every New Yorker who heard I am an Israeli looked at me with sympathy and tiredness in his eyes as saying ‘Now I really understand what you the Israelis are going through…’
I think the New Yorkers saw a sense of security in me, security that came with my life experience…I really felt safe in Manhattan those days post September 11… but my safety feeling was easily replaced by a chilling discomfort, when I happened to wander into a pro-Palestine demonstration near the UN.
Today, but 11 years ago I was a typical version of a good and naive girl who thought that living abroad is a very brave and courageous thing to do. Since then a lot of things happened. Maybe tons. The naivety slowly faded away and with it I realized that the words ‘Brave’ and ‘Courage’ have so many other meanings.
When I came to New York City a good friend of mine told me that ‘New York sucks you in Sivan, and you can’t really resist its current…just go with the flow..’ and as a swimmer, I know how it works; Just jump into the water and swim.
Since that day, this sentence echoes in my mind me every morning when I wake up. And it doesn’t really matter if I go to swim or not.
Today. But 11 years ago.
Every morning when I come home from the pool, I walk through Columbus Circle and look up at the digital clock of CNN. I check the time, the current temperature and the date.
These daily habits have become part of my life. They make me laugh.
Every year, on the 30th of December, when I look at the date on the digital clock at Columbus Circle I call my sister or my parents to announce the number of years I have been living in New York City. It also became a habit.
Every year, on the 30th of December I look back at the year that has passed and measure all the things I have done. At the same time I also define my goals for the New Year ahead. New Year resolutions they call it here.
Every December 30th. Every year.
Wishing everyone a happy New Year and great New Year’s resolutions. May all your dreams come true
…this is my New York through the years…
As I wrote in a previous post, the truth is that I don’t know how to cook.
If you see me in a cooking class, it will not be a mistake or a fata morgana. I will be there for the sake of photographing first and eating after.
I was really happy to hear that Chef Constance from Cook’n With Class, whom I met few months ago during a Morning Market Class in Paris, was coming to NY, my hometown to teach a SeaFood class in Haven’s Kitchen in the West Village.
Meet Chef Constance:
I admire Chef Constance for her charisma and how serious she is about food. The way she talks to people and explains them about the elements of the dish they are about to cook, the way she instructs how to use the cooking tools, and the way she does it both in French and in English, are all things I wish I could do. The only hint about her goofy and playful character is in her un-matching socks she is wearing.
She started cooking when she was eight years old. She used to make cakes every Wednesday in a pastry school. As she didn’t want to go to Ballet classes, her mom made a deal with her: She could go to the cooking class if she would take a Ballet class as well. So she did.
When she turned 15, she started a culinary school for five years. She admits the school was quite demanding, but it was the best training to learn the reality of this job. Some of her training were in Le Bristol, Le Meurice and The Ritz, all five stars hotels in Paris. When school was over she headed to the Four Season Hotel in Palm Beach, in order to practice both her culinary skills outside of Paris and improve her English.
When she got back to Paris, she got hired as a chef for the American Embassy and the Unesco Ambassador and afterwards she was part of establishing a new restaurant with the sous chef she worked with in Le Bristol, called Le Cristal de Sel. Mind you, she was not even 30!
After eight years of cooking she joined Cook’n with Class as she felt she was ready to teach others how to cook. If you visit Paris, I highly recommend to book a cooking class with Chef Constance. If you can’t make it to Paris yet, then check Chef Constance’s blog where she shares all the good recipes and the techniques she learned all over the world.
She specializes in fish and sea food. As I share with her the love of swimming, Constance used to do swimming races during her Summer days so it was quite natural for her to go towards products from the Sea.
This is why she taught that great Scallop class in Haven’s Kitchen.
The Location: Haven’s Kitchen
Haven’s Kitchen is a two-story-about to be-three stories space for cooking classes, events venue, a neighborhood’s cafe and a gourmet shop. All in one place in West Village. It became a gathering place to reconnect people with food and the community. The classes varies from beginners, wine tasting, barbecue and grilling, Holiday cooking and seasonal classes. As the classes vary, so do the chefs. Constance is not a permanent resident but a guest from Paris. How great is that to be in New York, in such a great school with a chef all the way from Paris!
I love the design of Haven’s Kitchen. The front of the store is a little cafe with a gourmet store and pantry. A tall wood table in the middle of the store, where people can sit, sip their coffees and read some cooking books, all left around on the tables. The pantry sells mostly Made in Brooklyn-Made in New York brands such as delicious jams, teas, chocolates, wines and honey. And then…the kitchen! Big working tables, tons of jars filled with herbs from all over the world, pans, pots, plates of all sizes, utensils and more. Such a well equipped space that makes the cooking seems so easy and obviously, enjoyable.
The second floor has a great space which is rented for some food venues and events and a wine tasting bar. The third floor will have more room for classes in the near future. The space is definitely a cooking Haven.
The Class: Sea Scallop
Even though it might sound easy, It takes longer to make Seas scallop poached into a lettuce leaf with creamy leeks and smoked bacon and Sea scallop roasted with a crust of parmesan cheese with baby spinach than eating it. And yet, all the eight women and the only man who were part of Constance’s class, listened very carefully to what she said and followed her instructions.
In the end it was a lovely dish, accompanied with Baguette and butter, French wine and a citron flavored creamy dessert that Constance prepared in advance.
I wish the pictures could transfer the taste but meanwhile… if you want to try it at home, contact Constance for the recipes.
The first time I’ve heard about sisterMAG was few months ago, when Saloona, a blog platform in Israel I am writing for, invited Thea and Toni Neubauer (aka Sister Magazine) to participate in a blogger conference in Israel.
As I was not in Israel at that time, my girlfriend Einat from DesignBreak was telling me all about the Sisters and their doing. Since that time, I’ve started following Thea and Toni’s magazine, and was amazed how these two were putting together such a great product. With time, sisterMAG became more and more familiar to me. I remember Anne from Pret a Voyager posted some images from The Hive in Berlin with Thea and Toni, same as Lindsey, from Lost in Cheeseland. So even without meeting Thea and Toni in person, thanks to my colleagues bloggers, I felt as I know The Sisters.
In my recent visit to Paris, Lindsey suggested I should contact sisterMAG and maybe contribute for their next issue. One thing led to another and I found myself writing a photographed article about Ospedale della Bambole, a hospital for dolls I’ve shot in my recent visit to Naples. The article is part of a series, The Crafters, which sisterMAG will probably continue in future issues.
I’m so honored to have my story featured in the Christmas issue. 300 plus pages of great inspiration!
You know it is the Holiday Season in New York by the window displays in the big department stores. A week before ThanksGiving, the windows, which were covered and under constructions, are getting revealed and unveiled with its Christmas decorations.
I must admit that from all Midtown department stores windows displays, Bergdorf Goodman is, by far, the most creative and interesting one. It has been like that for years. And yet, if there is a trend in this year holiday window displays, it has something to do with interactivity.
David Hoey, the creative guru of Bergdorf Goodman’s windows’ display was inspired this year by the Jazz Age. In an audio tour he talks about The BG Follies of 2012, and how he was inspired by entertainments such as the Ziegfeld Follies, Vaudeville revues and Busby Berkeley’s Hollywood musicals of the 1930s.
Act I: By Request
In this first window, there is a black and white homage to Marilyn Monroe in Billy Wilder’s movie Some Like It Hot. The Window is featuring a bird’s eye view of fashion from Marc Jacobs, 3.1 Phillip and Elie Saab. The bird’s eye perspective, according to Hoey, is a well known trick in the design world and in the window displays’ arene and his creative team loves to use that perspective.
Act II: Naughty and Nice
The second window is a tribute to burlesque performer Sally Rand, the inventor of the risque fan dance. The main and only character in this window is covered in thousands of white feathers, used as a mosaic and was constructed feather by feather (!!!) I can’t even imagine the patience needed for this entirely white window.
The third window showcases a collection of mid-century miniature American mannequins once used for display and merchandising, as well as for sewing practice. It is already well known that David spends months over months, building up these collections until the time is right to use them. So this year Hoey decided it was the right time to use his miniature mannequins collection as 1920s Ziegfeld Follies girls on fifteen miniature stage reproductions made from replica 18th-Century wood moulding in A Cast of a Thousands.
Act IV, Daredevil Act
The forth window (which is my favorite) is Bergdorf Goodman’s novelty act, featuring a runway look from Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen’s Spring 2013 runway collection. As David said, every show needs a novelty act, and Bergdorf Goodman’s highlight this year is the 24 plaster dogs performing every trick under the sun. ‘Our windows are a practice in making the impossible possible — in twisting complexities to new levels by using old-world craftsmanship and artistry’ David says. Every surface of Act IV is covered in gold and silver leaf. I just love the red and gold combination and the dogs’ character.
Act V, The Finale
The fifth window’s installation, is a giant mirrored, rotating kaleidoscope. David and his team were sketching prototypes until the team discovered that beveled mirrors moving in both clockwise and counterclockwise movement created the best result. Approximately 1,000 individually beveled mirrors were used to create this kaleidoscope set into motion by seven separate rotating motors. The effect should be dizzying, psychedelic… an homage to Busby Berkeley’s overhead kaleidoscopic camera shot seen in Footlight Parade. To complement the mirrored effect in this duo act are two custom-created gowns from Naeem Khan.
Make sure to check out the Behind the Scene of Bergdorf Goodman’s Holiday windows. You will be amazed of how many people, hours and thoughts are invested in this experience called Bergdorf Goodman Christmas Display. The crew has been working for weeks but the theme has been thought for months already.
The windows will be up till January 3, so if you are in New York, make sure to see them.
While most of the Travel magazines are publishing either Winter Getaways vacations or things to do and see during the Holiday season these days, Trunk magazine is staying loyal to its purpose of ‘presenting an artful yet unvarnished look at how its writers and photographers travel’.
The magazine is quite new. The Fall/Winter 2012 issue is just the third one, but the buzz and the excitements around it are quite high. I remember how curious I got when I first saw Trunk’s first issue few months ago, and how I was trying to find out who were the creative minds behind it.
David Cicconi, a former Photo director at Travel+Leisure, is the founder and creative director of Trunk. It definitely takes a lot of courage to start a new print magazine while the digital age is taking over, but it seems that for the beauty and aesthetic of Trunk images, only print will give it justice. To read an interview with David, talking about his magazine and his creative decisions, please read here and here.
I personally met David over a year ago. We met in a French coffee shop in Brooklyn and I asked him tons of questions. He is the one who helped me tremendously to come up with my initial Travel portfolio, and thanks to him, I got to understand better what the travel editors are looking for.
So if you are looking for a great gift to give yourselves or to others, or if you are travel buffs (like me) and want to indulge in a different kind of a travel magazine, do yourself a favor; get a copy of Trunk magazine or start with following it on facebook and twitter.
Because after all… the world IS a fine place…