Israel Through a Wide Angle Lens

Oct 3, 2017  By Ruth Oratz MD

Yeshiva. Bnei Brak, Israel. f/5.6, 1/500 sec & ISO 3200.

Every trip to Israel is an amazement in what is irrevocably ancient, fundamentally true and what it is utterly ultra modern; traditional; revolutionary; orthodox; mundane; heavenly; conflicted. A complex nation of many tribes, pilgrims from every corner of the Earth, people of this place.

In November 2016 I travelled with a small group of photographers interested in documenting multicultural programs and humanitarian initiatives in Israel. We visited every corner of this tiny nation in private homes, public schools, at family parties; we walked through the streets and markets and witnessed life at the extremes and in the mainstream. We crisscrossed the country from the Mediterranean coast of Tel Aviv down to the deep desert wilderness of the Negev, north to Haifa to Jerusalem and back.

Blue Bicycle.
Bedouin Village of Bir Mashashi, Negev, Israel
f/2.8, 1/640 sec & ISO 200.

Eli Atias ( one of Israel’s best known photojournalists worked intensively with us to bring out the best documentation of whatever person, place, human experience we encountered. This was a new form of photography for me, pushing me beyond my comfort zone, challenging me technically and creatively.

The Leica Q 28mm was my only camera. All settings were manual, all the time. The Q allowed me to see the sweep and forced me to move in closer to the depth of the complexity that is Israel and her people. The Q was comfortable to carry, lightweight and inconspicuous. Standing back, the wide view was nearly panoramic. Moving in revealed details and made intimate portraits. The Q was powerful in evoking mood and conveying emotion. In the lowest light, with high ISO, open aperture and a steady hand the Q captured every detail. In all situations the Q responded flawlessly, to the everchanging natural light, to dim interiors, to chaotic action or the stillness of the moment.

The Q was

powerful in evoking mood

and conveying emotion.

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