A Photographer's 5-Day Road Trip Across Israel
Haaretz Photography Blog editor, Daniel Tchetchik, spent five days armed with an analog camera, documenting the 'beauty and complexity of the country I love very much.'
About The Road Trip
I traversed Israel from south to north in five days. A journey of heat, nostalgia and searching. It wasn’t always clear to me what I was searching for but it wasn’t hard for me to identify what was wanted on the ground. I was looking for the glue of an Artik ice cream bar wrapper, my barefoot days, my childhood. The beauty and complexity of the country I love very much. From Eilat to Mount Hermon and back to the center of the country via Rosh Hanikra and Haifa.
Unlike classical photo-journalism, in which a photographer is sent to an event that happened or will happen, I was looking for the everyday event that is sometimes just as important as the front-page headline, a journey that made space for the randomness of life.
This is a wobbly period: Holocaust Day, Memorial Day … a time to look back, but also a time for looking ahead. Days in which the light is harsh and burning, accompanied by days with cooling wind and caressing light. The days are mostly warm and they will only get hotter; the water in the sea is still cool … and Israel is here.
I spoke to many people. Some of them are happy with the situation, others less so. All of them accepted me in a loving way, inviting me to have some food, to sit and talk a while… All of them were curious about the purpose of the pictures. One of my interesting conversations was with a boy of 11 and a half, Zohar, whom I met together with his father near Nahal Alexander.
“Tell me, Zohar, what is the thing you most love in this country?” I asked. “I don’t know,” he replied. “Okay, so what don’t you like here?” Zohar: “I don’t know … but I’ll tell you what, I live my life here and not the country’s life.”
In the Nahariya area I met Anna Mushkin who gave me another roll of film on a day of distress. The conversation with her slid into the past: “Arik Einstein always reminds me of things that I miss; he signifies an era that has ended. It used to be that there were simplicity and modesty here – it’s a different country now.”
Sometimes for hours in the car nothing much happens, only the highway winding ahead of me, reminding me of the high tides and low tides of the state and of life … Uphill and then downhill and after that flat … Again and again. The light changes. Landscapes that I have already seen and photographed a number of times suddenly look different. This time, with an analog camera and color film, random wandering or written in advance, an unknown route but one that feels planned, and the road goes on … Who knows to where … Going over the materials I feel that this was a journey inspired by my family album, when the colors of the photography were less saturated and, at least as I remember, so was the reality. The colors, at least for me, felt more real.