HuffPo’s Half-Asses Photo of Some Jews

A disturbing new study finds that studies are disturbing – Ellen DeGeneres

[singlepic id=288 w=321 h=310 float=right]OMG! Look how Jews in Israel have to line up to get a potful of drinking water from a rusty ol’ barrel in this Huffington Post article. That’s horrible… and also not true, as any Jew who takes a glimpse at this photo will tell you: It looks like people making their kitchenware Kosher for Passover. But how is the HuffPo staff supposed to know that? Hmm… Let’s see if the caption of this Agence France-Presse photo is any help:

An Israeli man immerses cooking pots into boiling water to make them kosher for the Jewish festival of Pessah (Passover) in Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv, on April 18, 2011. Religious Jews throughout the world celebrate the eight-day Passover holiday, which begins on April 18, 2011, to commemorate the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt some 3,500 years ago. Due to the haste with which the Jews left Egypt, the bread they had prepared for the journey did not have time to rise. To commemorate their ancestors’ plight, the religious avoid eating leavened food products throughout Passover.. AFP PHOTO / JACK GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

Hmm… Seems like a CliffsNotes version of Passover for Dummies to me…

Photographer Cindy Sherman’s Muse Appears in Jerusalem

After two gruelling days working an assembly line like photography studio, I have found renewed faith in the photography of children. Trying to avoid kitsch as much as possible, I worried our cooperation with Jerusalem’s Train Theatre might prove to be void of artistic merit, but boy was I wrong. Yes, many of the photos were nothing more than Jewish kids in Purim costumes smiling for mommy – but from time to time, when not pressed to fake-smile, something much deeper and profound emerged.

Following is the photo I liked most out of these two days of work. My friend Guy hinted that I might like this photo because on a subconscious level it reminds me of photographer Cindy Sherman’s work. What do you think?

[singlepic id=158 w=525 h=350 float=center]Hagigit – Purim Spiel Still #9313 – 2009

[singlepic id=162 w=525 h=418 float=center]Cindy Sherman – Untitled Film Still #21 – 1978

Hagigit Ends the Summer with A Blast at the Jerusalem Theatre

[singlepic id=95 w=300 h=400 float=right]Hagigit, the artists collective I co-founded, was invited to participate in the End of Summer events by the Jerusalem Theatre. We spent the last few weeks in preparation for the three day event, our biggest event to date both logistically and in terms of crowd participation. We set up our famous outdoors studio, packed it with theatre-related props, set up a work station consisting of 6 laptop computers, 2 photo printers, a wireless router, and one strategically placed electric fan.

The whole shebang worked like so: people could play dress up and don outrageous costumes, three Hagigit members staged the studio scenes and photographed them, another member was in charge of downloading the photos and distributing them using our wireless network. Most of the photos were instantly printed by another member, and a few were manipulated using Photoshop by two other Hagigit members.
Myself? I was in charge of hooking up to the jumbotron, displaying the photos taken and playing the Photoshop screen-captures, to the amusement of the crowd.

Here is a short movie consisting of photos taken at the studio:

And here is an example of the sort of Photoshop work that was done in real time, played here at 8 times the original speed:

…oh, and we got mentioned here and here.

These Are Your Citizens – Tell Them Thank You for Coming to My Birthday Party

Barbecuing in a nature reserve is generally considered Israel’s national pastime, and from the look of it, the secret ingredient is placing the grill near thousands of your fellow Israelis. The more crowded the place, the tenderer the meat gets. Sacher Park in Jerusalem is just a big patch of grass within the capital city, but nevertheless thousands of Israelis choose to celebrate holidays by having a picnic there.

Hagigit  , the Jerusalem artists’ cooperative I co-founded, erected its second outdoors photo studio in Sacher Park on Israel’s 60th anniversary, for that very reason. It was an opportunity to document a cross section of the people of Israel, and we had a lot of fun doing it. Here is a sample of the photos we took. Clicking a photo will open a larger version:

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Hagigit group was founded by eight graduates of the Musrara photography school in Jerusalem. The group’s main goal is to create and encourage interdisciplinary art activities in Jerusalem, including exhibitions, street performances and cooperation with artists in different mediums and with the local community under the belief that art should not be confined to a small section of the public.

Library of Progress

I often criticize the Israeli Internet for being stuck in the 1990’s and not getting the jist of the net’s knowledge sharing nature. So much so, that I started thinking that maybe I come off as a crazed reprover in the gate, drooling and mumbling incoherently something about Web 2.0. Could it be that everyone in Israel is wrong? Is sharing not a Jewish trait?

Case in point: There are three extensive photo archives in Israel, the National Photo Collection, The Central Zionist Archives, and the Jewish National Fund – and every time I search one of them, I cannot help but wonder: Is that all I get?
A crummy search engine user interface – is that all I get?
A crummy photo-not-available-online result – is that all I get?
A crummy purchase-reproduction-by-email-only* – is that all I get?

Well, today, courtesy of the US Library of Congress I got my sanity check, and it came back in my favor:
The Library of Congress, established more than two centuries ago, is young enough an establishment to decide to upload all of its 14 million photos to Flickr – for you and me to use freely. Let me repeat that for you, to make sure you and me get it: I read today, on the library’s blog (that’s right!), that they started a pilot (currently only 3000 photos) in which users can freely search, download, caption and tag all the historical photos from the archives of the LOC.
Still waiting for the other shoe to drop? Looking for an angle? Trying to find out if the LOC have a secret money making mechanism? Matt Raymond, Director of Communications for the library, details their evil knowledge-sharing/knowledge-seeking scheme:

[singlepic id=21 w=320 h=240 float=right]We want people to tag, comment and make notes on the images, just like any other Flickr photo, which will benefit not only the community but also the collections themselves. For instance, many photos are missing key caption information such as where the photo was taken and who is pictured. If such information is collected via Flickr members, it can potentially enhance the quality of the bibliographic records for the images.

 

Why must we wait a decade before web trends make Aliyah?

Hat tip to TGrayImages.

* The Jewish National Fund is the only one that offers online photo purchasing.

He Raised His Finger, Pointed At The Photo And Said ‘I Want To Have This!’

Readers of my blog may have been wondering about the outcome of the Bread and Roses art sale I participated in. A couple of days ago I was quite taken aback by a phone call. It was the organizers of the charity auction calling to ask for my address, as they wanted to send me a cheque. You see, this specific charity event appealed to me, as aside from actually helping people in need, which is always nice, the organizers promised that the money collected from each artwork sold would be divided and 75% of it would be donated, while 25% were promised to be paid back to the artist.

Now, while receiving money is always fun, this cheque represents the first ever artwork of mine that was sold in an exhibit, by a stranger who actually raised his finger towards the wall, pointed to my work and said ‘I want to have this!’

The sold artwork is called ‘Jaffa Gate, Summer 2006‘ and it is a photo mosaic of one of the gates in the wall that surrounds the old city of Jerusalem, created using photos of the 119 fallen Israeli soldiers during the 2nd Lebanon War. The actual print size of the work is 80×60cm, which is important as it looks different from a distance and up close. Use the + zoom option to have a similar experience:

 

Yes, It Is Bread We Fight For – But We Fight For Roses, Too!

This coming Saturday one of my art works will be offered for sale at a charity art sale. Me and about two hundred other leading artists are participating in a one day public event that will hopefully result in a considerable monetary contribution to the Workers Advice Center‘s ‘Women and Work’ project which aims to help Arab women break the cycle of poverty.

You are cordially invited to spend your Oneg Shabbat gazing at contemporary art (mostly paintings and photos), and possibly buying an artwork, thus helping a worthy cause. Check out the (partial) online catalogue here.

Where:
Minshar Art School
18 David Chachami street
Tel-Aviv
Israel

When:
Saturday, November 10th, 2007
From 10am to 10pm

Admission:
Free.

Bread And Roses Charity Art Sale - Invitation

…As we come marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient cry for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for — but we fight for roses, too!

Bread and Roses – James Oppenheim, 1911

Marlboro Light Photo-Nostalgia

King Hussein of Jordan lighting Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin's cigarette at the Royal residence in Akaba, Jordan, shortly after signing the Jordan-Israeli peace treaty, October 26th, 1994.I think it is the nostalgia for better times that made this photo pop into my head today. This photo is clearly in my top ten news-related photos, depicting King Hussein of Jordan lighting Israeli Premier Yitzhak Rabin’s cigarette at the Royal residence in Akaba, Jordan, shortly after signing the Jordan-Israeli peace treaty.

I would quote the former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan who referenced this specific photo in a 1999 speech, and said: “I should hasten to add that, in saying this, I am endorsing peace, not cigarette smoking.”

The photo was taken on October 26th, 1994 by the Israeli Government Press Office photographer Sa’ar Ya’acov. This photo and others can be viewed online and even purchased at Israel’s National Photo Collection.