I feel a bit over exposed in the short interview I did for Resource Magazine, Summer Issue. But then again, part of our job, as photographers, is to highlight and focus on one object while keeping other in the shadow. Same with our lives. There are matters we feel comfortable to share and talk about, and there are those we prefer not to discuss.
However, this is not the first time I am sharing my personal path and what led me to establish a new career for myself (divorce and lay off from work) and most likely, the second time I am sharing my story with Resource Magazine’s readers. The first time was on September 2012, being interviewed about my personal photography project ‘Intimacy under the Wires’. Take a look here.
But let me share some of my Q+A I did right after submitting the images to the Productions of the World; Paris. Here is my favorite part: The First and Last questions in the interview.
Q: What’s it like having your work published in publications like Travel+Leisure, Marie Claire Italia and Conde Nast Traveller?
Me: These are publications that I’ve always wanted to work for and I feel very proud. Now that I’ve been published, I need to pinch myself to remind myself it’s really happening. It feels good because people don’t know how hard it is to shoot. When you see the printed pictures it all looks so perfect and defined, but there are so many things that a photographer needs to do to get the shot. I always feel accomplished when I see the magazines.
Q: Now that you’ve become established in photography, what could you say your biggest obstacles are?
Me: When you go on a shoot you need to think ahead of time about what can go wrong, and when you work in a different country with different people, the obstacle is that you never know what they’re thinking. Sometimes I’ll construct a shoot in my mind and people don’t see it the same way as I do- but this is all part of the job!
Here is the full article.
For the third time (and hopefully not the last) I am honored to contribute to the series ‘Productions of the World’ in the Photography Trade magazine Resource Magazine. In the previous articles I wrote about Tel Aviv and Lisbon, and this time it is all about Paris, one of my favorite cities to photograph and visit. I was happy to get an email from Aurelie, the Editor of Resource, who has asked me to share some of my Paris’ pictures. I couldn’t have asked for a better compliment, coming from a native Parisian like Aurelie.
If you are a photographer who is interested to shoot in Paris or have any upcoming production or a shoot there, this article will definitely help you plan it. And if you are not a photographer but still, visiting the French capital, you will find some great tips and recommendations.
To read the full article, please click here.
I think that most photographers, beside seeing their images in print and in Travel magazines, might feel very proud and accomplished when they see their own picture in the contributors’ page.
At least this is how I feel when I see my picture and my name. Especially when it has to do with World Top magazine such as Travel + Leisure.
In this coming July issue, I will have my Feasts of Tel Aviv food story published, but also a short interview with me about it. Needless to say it feels almost unreal and for me it is a dream comes true. If you can’t grab a copy at the nearest newsstand, here is the interview… right after this…
Restaurant you’ll go to again and again: I spend a lot of time in Tel Aviv, and lately, I find myself constantly returning to Cafe Nachmani. I love its artistic interior and atmospher – It makes me feel as I am back in New York.
You can’t call yourself a Tel Aviv foodie until…You’ve elbowed your way through the long lines at Abu Hassan, a hummus place in Jaffa.
Favorite Photo subject: Laundry. I’ve traveled to Naples, Italy and Menton, in the South of France just to shoot hanging laundry for my ongoing photography project ‘Intimacy Under the Wires’
Food you couldn’t live without: Dark Chocolate. I’d eat it at every meal.
Best dish while on assignment: Ricotta gnocchi on a bed of chard, mostly because chef Haim Cohen of Yaffo Tel Aviv cooked it for me himself.
“…From pickled mussels to sardines with shushka peppers to glazed pork belly, charred eggplant and much, much more…Tel Aviv may look like South Beach on the eastern Mediterranean, but the food is ‘influence-rich, ingredient-agnostic, and genre-busting’ …I am very honored to introduce my recent shoot for Travel + Leisure, July Issue: Welcome to The Feasts of Tel Aviv.
A few months ago I was contacted by the Photo Editor of Travel+Leisure, asking me if I was interested in shooting the Food Scene in Tel Aviv for an upcoming Summer issue. Of course I said Yes. Even though I am not a foodie, I LOVE photographing food and style some table scenes. My Food assignment started with an item about HaCarmel Market in April issue and continued with an exciting list of some of the busiest restaurants in Tel Aviv, run by some of the Top Chefs in the Israeli Culinary arena.
Restaurants such as Yaffo Tel Aviv by chef Haim Cohen, HaSalon and Port Said, run by chef Eyal Shani, Alma Lounge Bar, to chef Yonatan Roshfeld. In addition I had to photograph Gil Hovav, a well known food writer, TV host, book publisher and producer. I photographed Gil in HaCarmel Market and it was fun watching how he interacts with his fans and how people in the street stop him to acknowledge him.
If you wonder if I ate some of the food, the answer is No. Not really. I was so busy making sure I have the appropriate light or the appropriate lighting equipment and even making sure the chefs themselves feel comfortable and at ease, that I really could not sit down and relax at the end of the shoot. But nevertheless, the experience was AMAZING and I enjoyed every minute of it. At Yaffo Tel Aviv I peeped into the kitchen and saw how they make their own pasta. I also got some tips from chef Haim Cohen in case I visit Georgia. In HaSalon restaurant I ended up having a long conversation with Eyal Shani (even though I was quite nervous to photograph him) and in Port Said I had to be very fast and specific if I wanted to get that specific frame by my ‘hand models’ (I had only 30 minutes).
Every shooting assignment is a learning experience and teaches me something new. Beside the fact I get to know Tel Aviv MOSTLY from the shooting assignments I get, this Food Scene shoot taught me how to communicate with Top Master chefs (who have their reputation and ego) so I can get from them the shots and frames I want. It also taught me to plan my shoots ahead of time but also be open for changes on the set, and above all, it introduced me with some of the best food in Tel Aviv, I was not yet familiar with.
Here is the final result, the cooked dish. You can read more here, The Feasts of Tel Aviv.
But wait, there is more….
Apparently, the Photo Editor was so happy with the shoot, that she chose one of the Port Said Table Scene as an opener for the July section. I LOVE how this shot came out.
Don’t you just want to jump into the frame and eat what’s in it?
When people ask me what I do for a living and I answer: ‘Travel Photographer’ their first reaction is usually ‘Oh, so I guess you get to travel a lot and be in all these fancy hotels, right?’
Well, I DO travel a lot (after all, this is the only way for me to do my work) but being a travel photographer doesn’t necessarily mean I sunbath along the poolside in an exotic island while I am on assignment or stay in those super luxury hotels I get to shoot. Being a Travel Photographer also means following the client’s brief, carrying some heavy equipments (mostly all day on your back) spending a lot of time in front of the computer editing pictures (unless you have an assistant who does it for you) and marketing yourself among magazines, photo editors and potential clients because nobody else will do this for you.
Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE my job! I get to explore a lot of buzzy and brill places, meet very interesting and diverse people from different ranges, see some marvelous interiors and eat delicious and exquisite cuisine. Yes, Just like one of my recent assignment in Paris.
On March I got one of the most enjoyable shooting assignment; To shoot a Patisseries Guide to Paris based on a popular blog in Israel called Paris Chez Sharon. I couldn’t ask for a better assignment which combined two of my favorite things; Patisseries and Paris. When my friends heard I was about to go to Paris to shoot some of the top Patisseries chefs and boutiques, they happily volunteered to be my assistants on board. I must admit, it was a dream assignment but it was also an intense one; Sharon, the blogger behind the book, made sure to schedule all the shoots in advance and it was managed as a well controlled military operation; I shot 32 (!) patisseries in 4 days, running around from one location to another, whereas in each location the Patisserie chef himself was welcoming us with something sweet to taste. As much as I care about my figure (especially on assignments) I couldn’t say No to a famous Patisserie chef or Chocolatier who hands me his best Patisserie in front of my face.
And Yes, I did try MOST of the desserts; after all, not everyday do I get to work with such a delicious client, right?
So here are few images that reflect my love to Patisseries and Paris.
Stay tuned for more delicious images soon… meanwhile, make sure to check the previous of the book here.
I am very honored and excited to have my debut image of Porto featured as the travel story opener in Elle Decor US, May Issue.
Beside Travel Magazines that inspire me, Elle Decor is an inspiration for everything that has to do with design. Quite often I get myself a copy of the magazine and dive into the homes and lives of others. Therefore, I was quite excited when the Photo Editor of Elle Decor has contacted me two months ago, asking me to share some images I took of Porto.
I visited Porto last February and spent a long weekend in that old mysterious and gothic city. I was quite lucky to experience so much in such a little time and get a sense of that city, which left me, of course, with the desire and curiosity to visit it again and experience it even more. (Hopefully during the Summer Season).
If my A Long Weekend in Porto post doesn’t convince you to book a flight or a vacation in this city, maybe the fact that Porto has just been selected as the Best European City for 2014, will do the trick.
Tel Aviv is becoming quite a HOT destination recently, not only because of the weather, but mostly for the things it has to offer; Culture, Beach life, Night life and the Food. Oh yes…The Food.
Travel+Leisure April Issue is always a food related one. This April issue I was assigned to shoot the ‘Street Smart’ segment for ‘On the Radar’ and I found myself looking for a variety of interesting characters in HaCarmel Market in Tel Aviv. I must admit; I haven’t spent so much time in HaCarmel Market before, mostly because it is always busy and crowded. But for this assignment, I walked around the alleys in different hours of the day, spoke to Patrons, followed customers, photographed dogs, tried out some Humus places, Beer Bars and got myself familiar and comfortable with that special rhythm of the market.
I highly recommend to get yourself familiar with these locals picks…and if you are a foodie, stick around, because there is so much more to come.
My first introduction to Aveiro in Central Portugal was through the window of a train.
Last year I was taking a train ride from Lisbon to Porto and the train had a stop in Aveiro, allowing passengers to get off the train and get on. I remember when I looked outside the window, the first things I have noticed were the marvelous blue tiles and the figures decorating the walls of a white washed building. (The old train station) This sight got me fully awake. I remember writing down the name of the station ‘Aveiro’ and made a note to myself to be back and see that place again and not only through a window of a rushing train.
So here I am! A year after. I am keeping my promise and visiting this city.
Aveiro is the second biggest city after Coimbra in Central Portugal. I have stayed only 24 hours in Aveiro and I can easily describe it as a must destination for Art Nouveau lovers and for those who blue azulejo (Portuguese tiles) make them tick. (Me).
Here are some of my favorites ‘to do’s’ of the city of Aveiro;
* Taking a Boat Ride along the Canals: Aveiro is known and nick named as the ‘Portuguese Venice’ thanks to its canals, the bridges over the canals and the painted colorful moliceiros (boats) which replace the gondolas in Venice. The original usage of the moliceiro was to transfer the harvest of seaweed, which was the main source of fertilizing the farmland of Aveiro, but these days they are mostly touristic and used for boat rides along the canals. The moliceiros are known for their bold colors and humorous decorations (including nudity) that ridicule situations of everyday life. Even though it might be too touristy (and I’m against everything touristy) sometimes it’s fun to have a boat ride, especially before sunset.
* Aveiro’s old Train Station: Even if you don’t travel to Aveiro by train, don’t miss a visit to the old train station. The white washed facade is covered with blue Portuguese tiles (azulejos) which tell a story of a typical everyday life in the ancient times in Portugal. This train station was built in 1861 and the constructions last for three years. It was opened for service on April 10, 1864. This station is currently not in use, as a new and modern building next door is now serving as the new train station. If you want to learn more about the history of the city, there is no need to open a History book. Just tour around this station.
* Art Nouveau Architecture: If you are a fan of Art Nouveau movement in general and Art Nouveau Architecture in specific, you should visit Aveiro. Walking in the streets, especially alongside the river, bring a lot of encounters with this style; The usage of exposed iron and large, irregularly shaped pieces of glass for buildings is fairly common. There is also a special museum for Art Nouveau, Museu de Arte Nova, located in Casa Major Pessoa, a true icon of Art Nouveau architecture. Casa Major Pessoa was initiated by Mario Belmonte Person in 1907 and was designed by the architects Francisco Augusto da Silva Rocha and Ernesto Korrodi .The building was purchased by the city of Aveiro in 2004 and in 2008 was converted to what it is now, a museum. It is a relatively small museum. The spread of Art Nouveau (Arte Nova) in Portugal flourished mostly in Porto and Aveiro.
* The Biggest Collection of Colorful Portuguese Tiles: I have been to various cities in Portugal before visiting Aveiro, but walking through the little streets of the old part of the city, it seems as though Aveiro has the biggest and maybe the most diverse collection of Portuguese tiles which are decorating the walls of the buildings. The first time I saw this design called ‘walls covered with ceramic tiles’ was in Lisbon. I remember taking a lot of pictures of these building (mostly located around Alfama area). But being in Aveiro, I didn’t put the camera down. Every building was different than the one next to it, both in color and the pattern of the ceramic tile, making my photography experience even richer and more exciting.
* The Stripped Houses of Costa Nova: A short driving distance from Aveiro toward the ocean, you can discover a typical beach where the charm of many wooden houses with colorful strips is quite exceptional. If you can plan your visit, make sure not to miss the sunset or sunrise over Costa Nova, when the colors of the houses are dramatically showing. Beside the ‘haystacks’ (the name for these wooden stripped houses) Costa Nova is also one of the great Portuguese beaches for water sports, windsurfing and kitesurfing. Walking along these colorful houses made me feel as I was visiting the movie set of ‘The Truman Show’, maybe because the houses looked quite the same and the streets were quiet and still. Or maybe my imagination was just running wild. Regardless, bring your camera to have some picture-perfect spots there, all hours of the day.
* O Barrio Restaurant: O Barrio Restaurant (opened in 2012) is a young, trendy and hype restaurant which gives the traditional Portuguese cuisine a fun twist. The owners of O Barrio wanted to keep the roots and tradition of Aveiro, but also to approach a younger crowd with less traditional palette. The menu is quite colorful and diverse; small fish dishes, grilled and stewed, small burgers, sea food soup and great desserts. Even though I’ve spent only 24 hours in Aveiro, I made sure to visit the restaurant twice(!) as I wanted to try the different dishes as much as possible. The service is really good and friendly and there is a good chance to see one of the owners enjoying a family dinner sitting at the table next to you.
My favorite dish in O Barrio (rest assure I had it twice, right?) was the combination of a Cheesecake and the Ovos Moles. Ovos Moles is a typical dessert from Aveiro, made with egg yolk and tons of sugar. All of this goodness comes with an orange flavor ice cream and crusted dough. For me, it looked like the Pac Man figure I used to play when I was way younger. Nevertheless, this dessert is delicious. Don’t miss it.
Whether you are taking a train from Lisbon to Porto, or going on a day trip out from Coimbra, don’t skip Aveiro. Spend at least a day or two (I wish I had more time to explore) and enjoy a quiet city, which combines the old and the new, the crumbling buildings in the old town vs.the modern and advanced University of Aveiro, the colorful tiles decorating the buildings and the over – the -top sweet Ovos Moles and other egg based desserts.
When I look at the pictures I took of Coimbra, and mostly those of Coimbra University, I feel as I still need to pinch myself to realize that the places I have visited were actually real, and not part of a Harry Potter’s movie set. It might sound like a cliche, and I might not be the only one to feel like that, but walking through the University halls and courtyards, running into students wearing their typical uniforms of black robes, patterned with colored patches and symbols, made me wonder if I was about to meet Harry and his friends in the next corner.
Truth is, when I mentioned this similarity to the University tour guide, she confirmed my thoughts and told me that J.K Rowling used to live in Porto for a few years and was inspired by her visits to Coimbra, which later were transcribe in the Hogwarts Aesthetic, including the uniform.
Coimbra is known as the Medieval Capital of Portugal for over a hundred years, and the University, which is considered one of the greatest in the world for the past five centuries, plays a significance role in the Portuguese history. In 2013 it was named a UNESCO World Heritage site. Some of the notable University buildings include the 12th century Cathedral of Santa Cruz, the Royal Palace of Alcacova, which housed the University since 1537, the Joanine Library with its phenomenal rich Baroque decor, the 18th century Botanical Garden and University Press, as well as the large ‘University City’ created during the 1940s.
As the University is situated on a hill overlooking the city, there are a lot of students dorms/fraternities called ‘Republicas’ down the hills, each Rebublica holds a different facade and its residents’ characters. There are currently over 24 Republics in operation, with almost all of them grouped in the Council of Republics (CR), which meets the request of any of the houses that compose it and take its decisions unanimously. A friend of mine, who used to be a member in one of the Republicas few years ago, told me there is an unwritten rule that whenever an alumni is coming to Coimbra, he can stay in his original Republica.
I visited the University at the end of February and the streets around the University were quite calm. My guide rest assured me that this time of the year was not really portraying the University atmosphere. ‘If you can’ she said, ‘come and visit us in the beginning of May, at the end of the second semester for the Queima das Fitas festival’. This festival, (The Burning of the Ribbons) which represents the end of the Academic year, is one of the biggest student parties in all Europe and it lasts eight days, a day for each of the University Faculty. It includes a parade of the University students, sport activities and the historic night-time Student Fado serenade (Serenata Monumental) which takes place in the stairs of the Cathedral in front of a crowd of thousands of students, alumni, tourists and visitors.
One of the highlights of my visit to Coimbra (which turned out to be one of the highlights of my trip to Portugal) was getting this special opportunity to photograph the Joanine Library from the inside. When the University tour guide opened the heavy doors that lead inside the library, I was at awe. And yes, I had to pinch myself and soak in all this beauty. While I was taking pictures of this beautiful Baroque Style Library, I had to remind myself to give my eyes a rest from the camera’s viewfinder, to really absorb this beauty.
The Library, which was built in 1717 during the reign of King John the 5th, (you can see his majestic portrait below) is located on the ruins of the former Medieval royal prison. The magnificent interior (stone floor patterned with geometric motifs, plaster ceilings decorated with allegorical trompe-l’oeil paintings and real gold leaves decorating the shelves) clearly connected with the Portuguese Empire of that period.
When I climbed the narrow steps to the second level of the library, just to have a better view and to understand its enormous amount of books, (57,000) the University tour guide leaned toward me and whispered that behind these shelves of books there is a real school of bats (!) that keep the moth away. (Harry Potter, remember?) At the same breath she mentioned that the library contains an amazing collection of 15th century Judaica, including the Abravanel family Bible and documents of the Coimbra Inquisition.
After taking a great amount of pictures of the library, we walked outside through the Via Latina, right into the Great Hall of Acts, where most of the Academic ceremonies are taking place. This is where grad students and Doctoral students are presenting and defending their thesis, where the official opening of the Academic year is taking place and where ranks of honors are given to particular people. I could only imagine how does it feel to be a student in Coimbra University, presenting his thesis under the investigating eyes of Afonso Henriques, the King of Portugal, portrayed on a large canvas on the wall.
To show respect, hierarchy and admiration, the students must sit lower than the eye level of the faculty.
Each faculty of the University is defined by a different color. The Faculty of Medicine, for example, is characterized by the Yellow color, and the Yellow Room (walls lined with yellow silk wall paper) is where the meeting of the constituent bodies of the Faculty took place. The paintings on the walls are of 19th century Rectors of the University. The Coimbra Faculty colors are: Forest Green- represents the University, Red is for Law, Yellow for Medicine, Royal Blue for Humanities, Sky Blue and White stand for Sciences and Technology, Purple is the color of Pharmacy, Red and White is Economics, Orange represents Psychology, Brown is for Sports Science and Black and White is for the Student’s Union. These colors, by the way, will be presented as patterns or patches on the students robes, bags and notebooks.
I highly recommend to take a guided tour when you visit the University of Coimbra. Whether you are a Harry Potter’s fan or not, the stories, the facts, the additional information you get to hear, are somewhat better than the movie.
I will start this post with a confession and admit right from the start that this is not an easy post for me to write. We, the photographers, might find it sometimes easy to snap a beautiful picture which captures what we see in front of our eyes, or through the lenses. But the truth is that reality and life are not always like that.
I can write about all the places I have visited and shot on 2013 (Lisbon, Porto, Berlin, Tel Aviv, Flanders, London and Greece) or write about all the great assignments I got and my debut editorials in some of the top International Travel Magazines (Travel+Leisure, Conde Nast, Lonely Planet, Resource Magazine) or even brag about the great exposure my personal ‘Intimacy Under the Wires’ photography project got (The Independent UK, La Repubblica, Huffington Post, PetaPixels). I can also mention the people I got to meet and work with (Karim Rashid).
But what these pictures can’t and couldn’t tell, is how sad and heartbreaking the year of 2013 has been for me.
It was the year when I changed my life almost 360 degrees so I could be next to my dad while he was fighting cancer. The year I ‘danced’ through my photo assignments and deadlines so I would never skip any kind of treatment my dad went through. The year in which I spend some nights in the hospital alongside my dad, just so he would see a familiar face when he woke up. The year in which the sentence ‘Family Comes First’ was not just a sentence, but an act of life.
It was a very tough year. Words can not describe. Not even my pictures!
And throughout this hard time, I got to realize what is the Importance of Life (spend as much time as possible with your loved ones and never hold back)
Who are my REAL friends (those who will always be there for me and will come over when I ask them to, or even without me asking…they will just BE THERE)
and no matter what kind of personality I have or mood-swings I was going through, I had to keep being strong and optimistic.
Till the end.
My dad passed away on November 2013. When someone who is so close to you dies, it is always too soon.
My dad is the one who taught me everything I know about Photography and the one who always encouraged me to take risks and chances and live life with no regrets.
When I look at the images at the top of this post and count the features and assignments I did throughout this year, I know I owe this all to him. To My Dad.
My New Year’s resolutions? Live each day as it was your last and shoot as though tomorrow you will be strictly blind….