First off, I want to say Hello! This is my first Blog post, and I intend to use it as a platform to tell you about my photographic projects, my ideas and my experiences within these projects and as a photography student in general.
Yesterday I embarked on my first independent photographic project. However before I started the project, I spent 24 hours awake in Tel Aviv, exploring the city, talking to the locals and experiencing the culture.
My connecting flight, was four hours long, and I spent the majority of time chatting with an Israeli who has been living here his entire life.
He was a successful and clearly intelligent man, who I discussed a variety of topics with. He quite often gave interesting insights into the fears and worries that the Israeli population have. He named the Orthodox Jews, "the largest problem that Israel faces", this statement genuinely surprised me. Israel? The state which is mainly inhabited by Jews? However yes, when I looked into this I found articles about the Orthodox spitting on school girls, and the state of Israel is actively attempting to remove of Orthodox jews within the city. Especially within Tel Aviv, which is famous for it's LGBT tolerance and the genuine acceptance which I have also experienced.
However this is a larger problem in Jerusalem because there is a more prevalent Orthodox population and their influence shows, as one example, no more advertising is allowed if it showcases women. I wonder to what degree, I will experience this as I travel there tomorrow. I met another man, who left with the words "Stay in Tel Aviv, you'll like Tel Aviv. Tel Aviv is better." One has to bare in mind, that these two cities are merely 50KM apart.
I live in Berlin. Within Germany, it's famous for the amount of dog poo. (A fact which I have never seen for myself.) So I come across a lot of dogs in my neighbourhood. Yet never have I seen as many pets as in Tel Aviv and my God; it's great!
When talking to Israeli's I purposefully didn't start or hint on the topic of Palestine, Jordan etc. "Eygpt, an enemy country" That is all that I heard about another country and I was stunned when hearing it upfront. The concept of 'an enemy country' is something completely foreign to me.
When walking through Tel Aviv, there is a great vibrant atmosphere, coffee shops which are open 24/7. There has been conflict in Israel for years, and heightened tensions throughout, however, one doesn't notice this. Yes, there are heightened security measures throughout what is known as the "white city". Shopping Malls mean bag controls however apart from that I haven't noticed anything. When walking through Old Jaffa, there wasn't a single clue. My fellow passenger on my flight mentioned the fact that he was the last one of his family members living in Israel, the rest had moved to either the USA, Canada or the UK. He, himself said that he would move away, yet it was his wife which held him here. And why was it, that the entire family had moved? Simply because of the continuous conflicts wich were rocking the country. Clearly even though it isn't a continuous issue, it still rocks the population and is a cause for concern.
Overall the 24 hours have been incredibly interesting showing me a glimpse of a world which these people live everday, yet which I'm not sure I could do day after day. The people are open, yet direct. Tomorrow I travel to Jerusalem, and I am looking forward to some more experiences.