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

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.

Not Coming to a Theater Near You

Israeli architect and part-time blogger Sharon Raz meticulously documents decaying buildings all over Israel in his incredible Disappearing Architecture website (which has a less than incredible navigation interface).

Decaying Hadar Cinema in Haifa |

Here are four photo essays he posted documenting the decadence in Israeli cinemas (#1, #2, #3, #4). Living in a state that has a short history, with citizens that have a short memory, I found his ongoing project nothing short than brilliant.

Where Do We Keep Our Old Photos?

I just finished publishing a new website for a colleague of mine named Guy Yitzhaki, showcasing his artwork in photography, video art and writing. The following couplet is from an ongoing project of his, where he photographs adult siblings in a composition that references a family picture from their childhood.

Siblings |

Siblings |

I really like his siblings’ series, as it takes a simple idea and creates a powerful body of work. Check out the full series here.

Arrived at Chomolungma!

[28/04/2002 16:30 – Kathmandu, Nepal]

Hi everyone!

My feet have swollen, my back is aching and I am so very tired, but after 12 days, I came back from the Everest Base Camp.
I apologize for being absent, but I have been trekking here in Nepal in the Sagarmatha National Park, where Mount Everest lies.
Words cannot express the beauty of the scenery I have seen so I will not even try.

Instead I will just lay some facts on you:
1. This has been, by far, the most difficult thing I have ever done, except my army basic training.
2. I trekked with Eli Ha Mem-Pey (also known as Eliezer and the Glacier) and with Avi Ha Katach.
You may assume this was as close to reserve duty as it gets.
3. We ascended in 9 days (as a precaution due to AMS or Heights Disease). We descended in 2 days (about 30 km per day).
4. We used Diamox pills to help us get used to the heights.
5. This is the route we took, you can follow it using the following map:
Everest Base Camp Trek Route

Day Date Route
Saturday 13/4/2002 Flight from KATHMANDU (1,300m) to LUKLA (2,840m)
Sunday 14/4/2002 Trekking from LUKLA to JORSALE (2,805m)
Monday 15/4/2002 Trekking from JORSALE to NAMCHE BAZAR (3,440m)
Tuesday 16/4/2002 Trekking from NAMCHE BAZAR to KHUMJUNG (3,780m)
Wednesday 17/4/2002 Trekking from KHUMJUNG to PANGBOCHE (3,930m)
Thursday 18/4/2002 Trekking from PANGBOCHE to PHERICHE (4,240m)
Friday 19/4/2002 Acclimatization at PHERICHE
Saturday 20/4/2002 Trekking from PHERICHE to DUGHLA (4,620m)
Sunday 21/4/2002 Trekking from DUGHLA to GORAK SHEP (5,140m)
Monday 22/4/2002 Trekking from GORAK SHEP to EVEREST BASE CAMP (5,364m) and back to GORAK SHEP
Tuesday 23/4/2002 Hiking from GORAK SHEP to KALA PATTHAR (5,545m) and returning back until TENGBOCHE (3,860m)
Wednesday 24/4/2002 Finishing the route from TENGBOCHE to LUKLA
Thursday 25/4/2002 Staying at LUKLA
Friday 26/4/2002 Flight from LUKLA to KATHMANDU

6. The first picture attached is of me, Eli and Avi at Everest Base Camp.
This is the highest place trekkers can reach and the starting point for professional mountaineering expeditions.

7. The second picture attached is of the gang at the peak of Kala Patthar, which is the mountain opposing Everest, where you get a good view of the highest mountain in the world.

8. The third picture attached is of me and Mount Everest.

As mentioned before, words cannot describe the actual experience, and even pictures show only a vague resemblance to the actual reality.

As always, more pictures are available at:

Lots of love from the beautiful country of Nepal,

Shahar’s trek to the Everest Base Camp was sponsored by Yahoo! Travel.
If you want to see more pictures of the gang trekking, go to: