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….
I am quite excited to announce my first giveaway on my blog.
I know the Holiday Season and the New Year right after always draw attention and the urge to give special gifts. So now this is my time to give a special gift to you.
AFAR has just won the Hottest Travel Magazine for 2013 by AdWeek.
So this is your chance to win a one year subscription to the Hottest Travel Magazine.
Here is how to enter:
1. Leave a comment below with your most desire Travel destination for 2014
2. Tell me what is your favorite Wanderlist
3. ‘Like’ Sivan Askayo Photography on facebook and leave a comment below you did so.
Each action counts toward one entry. (please leave a comment below per action). Entries must be posted by December 26 to qualify. The winner will be drawn at random and announced at the bottom of this post by January 1st.
Who can win: Open to readers worldwide. (If you are a US Resident you can win a one-year print subscription and if you are Overseas, you can win a one-year digital subscription)
I am very excited to collaborate for the THIRD time with one of my favorite Travel sites, Let’s Travel Somewhere. My first story was about Vietnam, the second story was about New York, and now I’m all about Florence in Italy.
“I was 16 years old when I first visited Florence. It was a “Sweet 16″ trip to Italy and the tour guide took us to Florence, just for a day. All I remember from that day was the statue of David in a blur. 20 years later, and I went back to Florence for the second time, but this time as a Photographer.
Florence was glorious. A bright Renaissance gem in North of Italy, where I spent 6 days and observed more than just the statue of David. Florence for me was running up the hills all the way to Piazzale Michelangelo, just to see the city waking up soaked in a morning dew. Florence for me was climbing up 412 stairs up the tower of the Duomo, for the sake of taking beautiful pictures. Florence for me was all about chocolate and coffee. Florence is walking through Santa Croce’s busy courtyard or feeding pigeons in San Marco Square. Florence for me was visiting the Academia at via Ricasoli on a busy day, paying only 4 Euro to see the masterpiece of David, and sneaking pictures of him when the museum guards were not watching. Florence is visiting Galleria Uffizi and observing The Birth of Venus, The Primavera or the Neptune statue in full glory. Florence is having Ricotta Cheese and Figs for lunch and chocolate and ice cream for dinner. Florence is walking in cobble stone streets with funny names such as Via de Tornabuoni or Via Maffia. Florence is having an afternoon stroll in Giardino di Boboli, or drinking water from Fontana dello Sprone. Florence is watching men in their best tailored suits riding their bicycles. Florence is visiting the Towers of Donati or the great halls of the old synagogue in Via Farini. Florence is watching the sunset over Ponte Vecchio while you are holding a bottle of wine in one hand and your loved one in other. Florence is doing and experiencing all of the above. Over and Over again”
To see more of my Florence images and read more about it, please click on this link.
A few months ago I made a phone call to Bill Cramer, the founder of Wonderful Machine. Bill was very friendly (I remember it was a holiday eve but he was still at the office) and he answered all my questions I wanted to ask about his company, while I was debating if I should join Wonderful Machine or not.
Wonderful Machine is an online interface which provides clients with the most comprehensive source of high quality photographers doing all kinds of work, all over the world. Bill and his team are quite selective about the photographers they show, they list them only in locations where they actually live, and only in specialties in which they are highly proficient.
For us, the photographers, is a great way to be exposed to new clients and different assignments, stock requests and so on. After I hung up the phone with Bill, I felt very confident to join the site.
And indeed…good things started to happen. I do believe it is a combination of my hard work as well and the face-to-face interactions I make an effort to maintain with photo editors and colleagues. Few days ago Wonderful Machine mentioned me on their Spotlight page and wrote few facts you should know…
…She doesn’t watch TV, but swims every morning. Was introduced to photography by her Father, who always carried his Nikon around with him. Grew up in Israel, but moved to New York at age 26 where she resided for 12 years. Recently shot a double-spread for Conde Nast Traveller…
Few months ago I was contacted by the Art Director of Mercedes Benz Magazine, asking to see some of my images of Tokyo. I was thrilled to share and send some of my favorite images of this magnificent city. In fact, I was waiting for the right opportunity to post them. I can’t think of a better mach of these high end images of Tokyo with such a luxury brand such as Mercedes Benz.
The article is about the simplicity of Japanese aesthetics surprisingly to be found in the expensive shopping districts, Omotesando and Ginza, both I had the opportunity to shoot during my 72 hours in Tokyo.
The article talks about some of the greatest malls in Tokyo, architecture, shopping and of course The Mercedes Benz Connection in Tokyo.
If you are not a Mercedes Benz owner, chances are you will not have a chance to read the magazine… But here is a sneak peek of it.
There is one thing to live in a city and another thing is to write about it.
Despite the fact I haven’t been living in Tel Aviv for twelve years now, my ‘Israelism’ grant me the title of a Tel Aviv expert among the readers abroad. I’ve been writing about Tel Aviv to EasyJet Blog, than a detailed article to Resource Magazine and my recent Tel Avivism article is Tel Aviv City Guide on DesignSponge.
I had to divide Tel Aviv to areas, such as The North and Tel Aviv Port, City Center, The Heart of Tel Aviv and the White City, The South part of the city and of course, Jaffa.
Here is a detailed list of restaurants, hotels, shops, studios and cultural locations in Tel Aviv, the city that never sleeps. Highly recommend to bookmark this list when you next travel to Tel Aviv.
Thanks Amy, Grace and Stephanie for this great opportunity.
Since my recent visit to Flanders on July, I’ve written a few articles about Antwerp; The main one was my Wanderlist on AFAR Magazine, on my blog and the recent one, for At Magazine, a Fashion and Lifestyle magazine in Israel. The article is about Antwerp and my recommendations where to shop, dine and what to do. I like the layout and how it came out. Hope it makes the readers book a flight to Antwerp.
‘Israel’s cool coastal city is an electrifying mix of stylish hotels and high design landmarks- all along miles of white- sand beaches’
This is how Tel Aviv is described in the October issue of Travel+Leisure magazine.
Last April I was contacted by one of the Photo Editors of Travel+Leisure Magazine, asking me if I was by any chance in Tel Aviv and available for a shoot. The timing was perfect and I was assigned to shoot the monthly column T+L Decoder for Tel Aviv. The Decoder is actually the definitive guide which covers the best places to Eat, See, Shop and Stay in one city. Tel Aviv was chosen for October issue. Needless to say how excited I was and honored to shoot Tel Aviv. A few days later I got a list of places and locations I had to cover. As someone who lives in New York for a while now and comes to Tel Aviv for holiday visits, I must admit I was thrilled to discover new locations in the city and capture them from a different point of view. Not a local.
Beside shooting the various locations, I also had to keep in mind an interesting, graphic and impressive image for the guide’s cover. When I mentioned it to some of the ‘objects’, they got enrolled and excited and all wanted to be chosen for the cover. When I was in need for people as objects, some of my friends happily volunteered to be photographed as they also wanted to see me in my ‘working mode’.
The article was written by David Kaufman, a great NY based writer who, as I’ve heard, loves Tel Aviv. Here is the online version of the article. (I highly recommend to download the interactive iPad version)
Hope this article and the images will take you soon to Tel Aviv.
In July, AFAR Travel Magazine sent me to Flanders to indulge in the rich culture of the region and to enjoy the Flemish way of life. I was visiting four different cities (Gent, Brussels, Bruges and Antwerp) in six days and shot tons of pictures. I met a lot of interesting people who were very proud of their country and profession, I tasted few different kinds of beers, I even sniffed and inhaled chocolate and experienced the original Gentse Feesten in Gent. It was a hectic, enjoyable and an eye opener trip.
To learn more about my Flanders’ experience, make sure to read my complete Guide to Flanders on AFAR.com.
From the four cities I’ve visited, Antwerp is the one I wished I had more time to spend there. The city has a successful balance between culture and commerce, high end fashion and local tradition. It is strategically located on the Scheldt river, and has some great architectural highlights alongside 16th century guild houses and Art Nouveau gems.
Buildings such as the Train Central Station, which was completed in 1905 and serves as the main hub to Antwerp
The Law Courts by the architect Richard Rogers, with the spiked roofs and the bright yellow lines alongside the stairs.
Huis Van Roosmalen, which is a private residence, owned by designer and art collector Will Van Roosmalen. The house was finished in 1985 and designed by Bob Van Reeth. I love the black and white stripes and the curved structure.
and the Zuiderterras, which was designed by Bob Van Reeth as well and looks like a ship moored on the Scheldt’s river and serves as a cafe and a restaurant. All these architectural wonders make the city more interesting and surprising.
Antwerp is known as the center of the world’s diamond trade, and since 1980s, thanks to the emergences of Antwerp Six, designers such as Dries Van Noten, Ann Demeulemeester and Walter Van Beirendonck, drove the city to fashion cutting edge and led the creation of institutes such as the ModeNatie.
The city is very active. It has a great fashion scene, it hosts an impressive collection of restaurants and bars, has various museums, great architecture and a young and trendy vibe. I highly recommend to visit Antwerp during the Summer times, when the days are long and it is getting dark after nine.
Here is my Antwerp’s intake and my express guide to the capital of Flanders; Where to shop, sip, eat and visit.
Shop: Graanmarkt 13
Named after the building it is located in, Graanmarkt 13 is ‘a special house where every floor tells a story’. This beautiful building that used to be a bank, was bought by Ilse and Tim, who live with their two kids on the 3rd floor. I was lucky to meet Ilse, the owner, who gave me a tour around this beautiful concept store and restaurant. Graanmarkt 13 has a restaurant on the lower level, overseen by the young chef Seppe Nobels, who, by the way, uses only local products and grows the herbs on the rooftop terrace above the restaurant. The entrance level is the store and gallery, where fashion, jewelry and home accessories hand picked by Ilse herself, are displayed beautifully. The second floor serves as offices and a gallery, where sometimes designers can show and present their clothes. Isle, who used to be a lawyer, told me it was her dream to create such a concept store, and I must say, it’s a beautiful one.
Graanmarkt 13, Graanmarkt 13, 2000 Antwerp
This should be one of the stores to see when you visit Antwerp. It is quite a small place but it has an impressive collection of high quality gloves since 1884, the year it was established. The store interior seems like it stayed the same since that year. The great collection of gloves, ranging from lambskin gloves trimmed with rabbit fur or pigskin gloves lined with cashmere, is all stored in green colored drawers that line the walls. When I ask the salesperson how many gloves she holds at the store at that moment, she answered about 10,000 in store and in stock. People all over the world are attending the store and order this well known gloves brand.
Huis Boon Gloves, Lombardenvest 2-4, 2000 Antwerp
I was very happy to discover Seven Rooms store in one of my morning strolls in Antwerp. I was on my way toward Marnixplaats square, which became a favorite location for me, when I saw the colorful sofa in the entrance of the store. It triggered my curiosity and I had to check out this huge white space. Seven Rooms was opened in January 2013 and it is a combination between Aldo Torelli, an Italian Fashion Agent, his Japanese wife Mie Sazen, and Gustav Bruynseraede, a Belgium retailer. The Concept Store is called Seven Rooms, because there are seven ‘units’ in that open space; Bedroom, Bathroom, Kitchen, Garden, Living room, Library and Walk in Closet. Each ‘unit’ has the right functional accessories. The whole experience is revolves hospitality. When I got in and met with the store manager, she made sure I would feel right at home, and welcomed me with coffee and cookies. Mie is the one who travels the world to find unique brands and things that look different than what the other designers bring to Belgium. The store has been a great success. Despite its high end brands and prices, I highly recommend to visit it.
Seven Rooms, ST Antoniusstraat 12, 2000 Antwerp
Sip: Cafe Hopper
Cafe Hopper is a well known ‘institution’ in Antwerp’s nightlife and Bohemian scene. It is a small place with simple wooden chairs and a piano but it is always packed. If you are not familiar with the local scene, you might think Cafe Hopper is just a simple place, but it attracts local and international jazz musicians and it is packed day and night. The cafe is located in Leopold De Waelstraat, a central square surrounded with great other restaurants and cafes, but despite its simple look, it considered one of the most mythological places in the Zuid. (South)
Cafe Hopper, Leopold De Waelstraat 2, 2000 Antwerpen
It is always good to know where the ‘cool’ local people hang out. I believe it is the best way to experience the local scene. One of the places I have discovered is Vitrin, an all-day cafe with a cocktail bar and an outdoor chairs and tables, packed with young and hype Antwerpenese.
Vitrin is located in the ‘Zuid‘ (The South) area of Antwerp, known for its recent gentrification of young and artistic crowd. The cafe is in the Marnixplaats Square, which is surrounded by other cafe places, restaurants and bars. The two owners of Vitrine are Michiel Thys and Kenny Aernouts, who opened Vitrine in 2011, as they wanted to create a place that will be low key and simple, and yet, people will feel comfortable and welcomed. If you go there during evening time, or you just fancy a drink, ask for the special- a spritzer made with cava, aperol and sliced orange.
Vitrine, Marnixplaats 14, 2000 Antwerp
Located just across the street from Vitrin, also in Marnixplaats square, you can find the great seafood-only restaurant Fiskebar. The place is like ‘Scandinavian flavors meet Belgian tradition’ and is heaven to fish and seafood lovers. The place is simply styled; white tiled walls, chalk-written menu on the walls and wooden chairs. There is the bar area, which is mostly for small dishes and appetizers or the main dinning room for full courses. In the Summer times, better enjoy sitting outdoors and watch the crowd.
Fiskebar, Marnixplaats 12-13, 2000 Antwerp
See: MAS Museum
Museum aan de Stroom, or MAS, (or Museum on the Stream) is one of the most significant cultural and architectural building in Antwerp. The museum is entirely dedicated to the city of Antwerp, with some changing galleries and exhibits mostly around the escalators area. I visited the museum twice; First time at night and second time during day time. It is fascinating in every hour of the day. The museum facade looks like a stack of red boxed connected by see through tubes. These curled wave-shaped floor to ceiling windows allow you to have a marvelous overview of Antwerp’s docks.
Take the escalators to the 9th floor and exit the rooftop to see a 360 view of Antwerp. If you climb to the first and upper floors of the museum and you face the square, you can notice a painted mosaic of a skull, based on a painting by the Belgian painter Luc Tuymans.
MAS, Hanzestedenplaats 1, 2000 Antwerp
Being in Antwerp and not visiting the ModeNatie Museum is like being in Beijing and not walking on the Great Wall. If Antwerp is considered the capital of Fashion, the ModeNatie is a must. The Complex includes Flanders Fashion Institute, MoMu Fashion Museum, the editorial department of A magazine and the fashion department of Hogeschool Antwerp. The building has an interesting interior of geometric lines and dark wood stairs that can stand in contrast to the flowing shape of the fabrics that are part of the exhibit and display.
When you visit the museum, don’t skip the Copyright bookstore that keeps a great collection of Art and Fashion books. I loved it!
Mode Natie Museum, Nationalestraat 28, 2000 Antwerp
I am very excited to be featured for the second time around on one of my favorite Travel sites, Let’s Travel Somewhere, curated and founded by the travel photographer Nisa Mayer. My first story was on Vietnam, and this time it is all about New York.
“As someone who travels for work, I write mostly about places I visit and less about the place where I have been living for the last 11 years; New York. Sometimes, it is hard to look at a place you know so well with different eyes. But New York is so dynamic and surprising that every borough, neighborhood, street or even a door, can be a great opportunity for an interesting shot. Not only does New York never sleep, it barely reclines. (which suits well my personality). That doesn’t mean you can’t kick back and relax; there are plenty places for that. But if you visit New York, here’s a word to the wise: Beside packing your camera gear, pack also your most comfortable shoes; Because Manhattanites may not nap much, but they sure do walk a lot.
As a photographer based in New York, the streets of this city have always been a great inspiration for my photography: whether it’s the architecture, the city reflections on windows, the stream of energy in the streets, the people walking in it, the titanic billboards and advertising ads, the colorful murals and the graffiti on the walls. It all inspires me.”
To see more of my New York images and read more about it, please click on this link.
And as I said in a previous post about ‘Let’s Travel Somewhere’… the size (of the images) DOES matter.