Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Light of Two O Eleven

Last Light of Two O Eleven

It was raining gently this morning as I got out of bed. It made me happy to think of all the planting I have done in the garden in the last couple of weeks.  Later I stepped out to the front garden taking a break from reading Murakami new 1Q84 book.  I decided to have a red grapefruit from the young tree. As I carefully chose the most ripe one with an attractive red blush on the deep yellow skin, I observed that there were still rain droplet on the grapefruits and I got in and got my camera in order to capture fresh washed fruits hanging between the deep green leaves of the tree which I have tended so carefully during the year.  Recently I decided to count how many fruits were on this still small tree and pretending that I am doing a pseudo scientific research I marked all the grapefruits with numbers using a black indelible laundry marker.  Naturally I had to ignore this aesthetic interference in my photographs.

It is late afternoon, being fully engrossed in Murakami’s narrative which reads like a suspense novel, I cannot escape a continuing reflection on the fluid passage of time.  It is very quite around here today with a cold fresh day outside.  As a late wintery sun is timidly shining on the smooth concrete back deck, I take the camera and think about capturing the last light of two o eleven. Somehow I have a profound desire that my photographs will silently speak for me and I would not have to use words.  I make a decision to capture the shadows projected on the studio wall. It is freshly painted with a light white yellow paint.  I place the camera on a tripod and shoot a short three minutes video, slowly underexposing it as it progresses towards its conclusion.

Through the large window, I watch the sunset paints the horizon with deep reddish orange and purplish hues. A light wind is blowing and certain calmness can be perceived.  It is most welcomed as it is seems fully evident that here, now, moments of calmness and serenity are rare exception in the great sea of volatility that engulfs us. Like any stormy sea, it sends its heavy rollers continuously, but in most cases our limited perception does not allow us to be aware of their coming.    Maybe this is what Mr. Murakami is trying to convey again in his complex book.  And maybe this is what my video and photographs will be enable to convey to an astute observer, as the preceding  thoughts were certainly involved in their creation.   

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve 2011

I bought this olive bonsai in a nursery yesterday. It made me happy and so I photographed it on the front porch table this morning .
Later realizing its possible significations I created a symbolic Christmas greetings image :

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Longest Night

After hearing an uninspiring lecture on photography, my car was parked on Manor St. in the industrial part of Tel Aviv.
Being in a particular mood, I thought that digital photography at times has the advantage of transforming  a night scenery into something much more intriguing. In this case It did not take long for me to find the frames that matched my non  tranquil  state of mind.

In addition I shot this video snap. What fascinated me was the unpredictability of the flag movement. As this video snaps are done without editing, it is always a challenge how to finish them not too abruptly. But here I thought yes let it be abrupt and unpredictable much like the duration of our lives.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Photography of Palestine

I recalled Mark Twain words when I photographed these ruins in Ramleh recently:

"Of all the lands there are for dismal scenery, I think Palestine must be the prince. The hills are barren, they are dull of color, they are unpicturesque in shape. The valleys are unsightly deserts fringed with a feeble vegetation that has an expression about it of being sorrowful and despondent
 Palestine is no more of this work-day world. It is sacred to poetry and tradition -it is dream-land." 

Mark Twain Innocents Abroad 1869


Monday, December 12, 2011

Dead Falcon

In a freak accident, this young falcon smashed into my rear door and expired on the floor two meters away - signifying that his velocity was very high .  I found Henry the cat watching him as he was dying.There was nothing to do but photograph him and give him a respectful burial in a meadow of green sorrels.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Ripe Fruit

It seems that it is impossible to buy ripe fruits any longer. A great boon for the growers ( green fruit has a longer shelf life and it is less susceptible to bruising).
This is particularly relevant to citrus fruits as they need to remain on the tree for an extended period of time in order to gain full flavor an juiciness. Here is one ripe red-orange from my garden today.  
There are deeper implications to this contemporary phenomenon, because here in Israel, unlike the past, it symbolizes the remoteness of many people from agricultural experiences, since anybody with such an experience is aware of the inferior oranges offered in the markets and like yours truly would refuse to buy them.    

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Food Culture in Israel

My very good friend Uzi Varon is a professional photographer based in Helsinki Finland. He has just completed a recent visit to Israel to photograph articles for various Finnish magazines. Being a talented chef himself and working with the food industry for years, I hold him to be somewhat of an authority when it comes to food. I was pleasantly surprised to hear his statement:
"Yes I just got back from Tuscany and as you know I been more than once to France, but currently the food in Israel gives both of them a serious run for their money."

 photograph (c) Uzi Varon 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

After the Rains - a Very Positive Post

"A certain kind of excitement engulfs me as I observe the buds of the flowering mums in my garden on their way to become these lily-white expressions of beauty and passion. " 

and more photographs from the garden: 

עברית אנגלית

בהרבה מקרים תרגומים מאנגלית לעברית מחמיצים נקודות מרכזיות למשל הערך תיאורה בויקיפדיה
גרסא מקורית:
Disambig RTL.svgערך זה עוסק במושג תאוריה על פי המדע. אם התכוונתם למבחן התאוריה בנהיגה, ראו מבחן נהיגה עיוני.
במדע, תאוריהיוונית: theoria - חקירה - מן theorein - להתבונן), או תורה היא מערך שלם ושיטתי של רעיונות שמטרתו לתאר או להסביר תופעה מסוימת או קבוצת תופעות בעלות קשר. התאוריה, בניגוד לפרקטיקה אינה עוסקת במקרים פרטיים של תופעה זו או אחרת, אלא במתן הסבר לגילוייה השונים. ניתן להתייחס לתאוריה מדעית כמודל של המציאות.

Disambig RTL.svgערך זה עוסק במושג תאוריה על פי המדע. אם התכוונתם למבחן התאוריה בנהיגה, ראו מבחן נהיגה עיוני.
במדע, תאוריהיוונית: theoria - חקירה - מן theorein - להתבונן), המילה "Theoria" מתייחסת ל: "הרהור, השערה, דברים שמסתכלים עליהם" מהמילה היוונית theorein, "לשקול, לערוך השערות, להתבונן", מ theoros "צופה" , מ thea"מבט" + horan "לראות". זה מייצג מצב שלהיות צופה או משקיף. גם המילה היוונית Theoria וגם הלטינית contemplatio בעיקר מתייחסות להתבוננות בדברים גם בעיניים או בתובנה השכלתנית. בהתחשב במסורות פילוסופיות ותיאולוגיות המונח הייה בשימוש אצל היוונים הקדומים בהתייחסות לחוויה או צפייה ואז תובנה דרך התודעה שנקראת נוס nous ( שכלתני, תבונתי, הגיוני) או " העין של הנפש" (מתי, 6:22–34 ברית חדשה), תובנה של מהות וישות (Noesis).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Culture Design

"Design, stripped to its essence, can be defined as the human nature to shape and make our environment in ways without precedent in nature, to serve our needs and give meaning to our lives."

Heskett, John. (2002) Toothpicks and Logos: Design in Everyday Life. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

Also think about Utility (functionality) Significance (essence) and signification (the connection between the two)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Requiem for a Hedgehog

I was saddened this morning to find this dead baby hedgehog on the front lawn. The likely cause of death is severe scabies. In the past I was able to find few hedgehogs and bring them for treatment in the wild animal clinic which was able to save them. Not this one. Also an homage to my dear friend Pesi Girsch.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Man of Vision

Time magazine ran an appreciative portrait of Steve Jobs:
Walter Isaacson:
"Something was either "the best thing ever" or it totally sucked. He could taste two avocados, indistinguishable to ordinary mortals, and declare one of them the greatest ever harvested and the other inedible." 
But what I think is the issue at hand is Jobs's sense of discernment.
Or this from a 2005 Stanford commencement speech:
" Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what your truly want to become. Everything else is secondary."

Friday, October 21, 2011

Olive Oil

Olive harvest from a thousand years old olive tree in Shepharam Israel 1998 photograph by S.L. Abrahmov

As someone who is very interested in olive culture I found this article in the NYT quite captivating. What is more interesting is this previous article (titled Slippery Business)  on the Italian oil industry. In a way this article portrays more than shady dealing with olive oil but also to a deep rooted  social problems.  Basing an opinion on one article is risky, apparently this olive oil fraud continues in Italy as reported here.  Which raises the question why buy Italian olive oil in the first place when so much more credible sources exist today. 

Currently in Israel there are many producers of world class extra virgin olive oil. The best of them use the intensive method described in the NYT article and the secret behind the success of these growers that they adopted and adapted growing approaches and harvest of grapes and wines to those of olive growing and oil production. Rated in 2011 as best Israeli quality producer is Eretz Gshur  which was also  rated as one of the best olive oil in the world.  A very successful newcomers are the olive oils of Kibbutz Magal.

Which brought me further to this reflection about quality olive oil. In my visits to Crete, I have discovered that in actuality they produce without any special efforts superior olive oil which is characterized by the low acidity rating of 0.3% ( normal grade for Extra Virgins is 0.5%). The small size Koroneiki olives in the Island and probably climate and soil are probably the main factors for such olive oil quality.

Koroneiki olives Sfinari Crete 2009
And here is the big question: What is the reason that Cretan olive oil has such a modest international presence? 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Aqaba 2011

Aqaba is an interesting city with wide landscaped lanes and a feeling of an oasis due to the vast number of date palms planted all around the city. It is much more spacious than any other city in Jordan and offers a quick access to Wadi Rum. Jordanians were friendly and helpful especially in the border crossing to Eilat.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Yom Kippur 1973 -2011

Saturday the 6th of October 1973 at 1700 Photograph by Mordo Avrahamov
יום שבת ה6 לאוקטובר 1973 שעה 1700 צילום מורדו אברהמוב

הקיץ הפך לאט לסתיו עם ימים קצרים וחמים. יום שבת אחד ל' ואני התעוררנו מאוחר ובשעת הצהריים הלכנו לכיוון רכס הדיונות הנמצא מעל החוף שלנו. שדות הבוטנים היו חשופים עם הגוונים האדומים כתומים של אדמת החמרה בולטים לאחר הלקט. רוח חזקה נשבה מדרום והרימה לאוויר ענני אבק. איך שצפינו בשדות הייתה הרגשה מאד טעונה באוויר, איזה תחושה של חוסר ודאות. קבוצה של הליקופטרים נחתה במפתיע בשדה ויכולנו לחוש כאילו מאורעות בלתי רגילים  עומדים לקרות. מכוניות בודדות התחלו לנסוע במהירות על כביש החוף הסמוך לשדות. הייה זה אחרי הצהריים של יום הכיפורים השישי לאוקטובר 1973.

The summer had slowly faded into a warm fall.  One Saturday, L. and myself woke up late and around noon went towards the low ridge of sand dunes that is located above the shoreline.  The peanuts fields were bare with their skin of red orange earth showing after the harvest.  Mild to strong fall winds were blowing and were raising dust clouds.  As we were watching, there was a very peculiar atmosphere in the air, a sense of uncertainty, when a group of helicopters made a surprising landing in those fields.  This was very uncommon occurrence and we could feel that some unusual circumstances were developing.  Cars began to streak across the barren freeway.  It was the afternoon of Yom Kippur, the 6th of October 1973.  

. יום הכיפורים הוא בדרך כלל הזדמנות גם לחשוב על אירועי המלחמה ההיא. השנה יש הרגשה כאילו הזכרון מתערער והקצוות החדים שלו נעשים יותר קהים. בתמונה מופיע א.א. ברגע העלייה לאוטובוס שיקח אותו לחזית הדרום. בתור מט"ק עם ניסיון קרבי עשיר ממלחמת ההתשה, אמא שלו יודעת לאן הוא הולך - ואמנם א,א. הייה מפקדו של הטנק השלישי שחצה את התעלה. בשנים האחרונות אני מנסה פעם אחר פעים לראיין אותו על אותם אירועים היסטוריים וטראומטיים שחווה - אך הוא מסרב בעקביות שנה אחר שנה. אני יכול להבין אותו כי אולי גם עבורו הקצוות החדים של הזכרונות נעשים קצת פחות דוקרים ופוצעים ואולי מוטב שכך.

Yom Hakippurim is usually an opportunity to reflect on the events of that war. This year there is a feeling as if our memory is blurring a bit and its sharp edges become blunter. The photograph depicts A.A in the moment of boarding the bus which will take him to the southern front.  As a tank commander with a significant combat experience from the ‘War of Attrition’ of the early seventies, his mother knows where he is going. Indeed, fighting devastating tank battles in the Suez Canal front, A.A was the commander of the third tank that crossed the canal and thus participated in the operation that determined the military outcome of the war. In the last few years I am trying time and again, to interview him regarding the historic events and the traumatic experiences he was a part of – but he refuses consistently year after year. In a way I can understand him, because maybe for him the sharp edges of memory become less sharpen and injuring – maybe it is for the better.  

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The Hidden Fear

This deep buried fear:
"It seems that only a huge flood of tears can wash it away" 

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Biking in the Sharon

What I like in particular about bike riding around here is that it enables you to discover new places that otherwise the chances for you to see them are slim. Here are few photographs from a tour of central Sharon were the most advanced urbanization ( i.e the town of Raanana) are sitting next to agricultural fields. ( click on photographs to enlarge)

The orange red soil of the Sharon are called by the native Arabs Hamra (red) it is a light and excellent soil for many crops.

The labor  of Israeli agriculture is based on workers from Thailand. They are hard working, dedicated laborers . In many places in the middle of the fields they have their own compounds.   

Thai workers' breakfast  

The crops here are sweet potatoes

Sweet Potatoes and Water tower

Two stripes and cypresses

There was no sign of life in this recently built neighborhood of Hod Hasharon, I was thinking of Eggleston

"You do not mind me wearing this shirt ?( a protest against the evacuation of settlers from the Gaza strip), he asked me". I did not answer since why spoil a beautiful ride with the painful realities of Israeli politics and right wing extremism.
The Rider's self portrait