Critical Mass Top 50, 2011

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Yaakov Israel

Nili asleep, Nebi Musa, Israel, 2010

The Sea of Galilee, Israel, 2004

Morning Prayer, The Dead Sea Hilton, Israel, 2006

Kalia Beach, Dead Sea, Israel, 2006

Malachi & Gur Arie Yehuda, Jerusalem, Israel, 2007

Sinkholes, Ein Gedi, Israel, 2011

Breslav Hasid Praying, Petrol Station, HaBiqah, Israel, 2011

Eman, South-western Negev, 2011

Soldiers on Coffee Break, Yad Mordecai, Israel, 2010

Carpet, Northern Israel, 2009
Yaakov Israel

The quest for the man on the white donkey As per the Orthodox Jewish tradition the Messiah (the Prophet) will arrive riding on a white donkey. A few years ago, as I was photographing near the Dead Sea a Palestinian man rode past me on his white donkey and I took a picture of him. It was after having developed this plate that I’ve realized that I had encountered my “Messiah”; it was this chance encounter which brought me to initiate the body of work that carries the name: “The quest for the man on the white donkey”. The American tradition of the great photographic journeys served as a blueprint for the initial phase of my “quest”. as I found myself passing through the same places over and over again, the personal identity of my project was revealed: I had to let go the idea of narrating the physical journey and concentrate on the intimate, emotional reactions to those places; the occasional encounters with people and sceneries; how they appeared to be revealed or lost at the same time, as if they where part of a scene that was ever changing and never changing. As my “Messenger” revealed himself, the search for a deeper understanding of my Country and what defines me as an Israeli became an urge to look for in-between places, the non-usual; suddenly a detail requested my attention as I stood for hours waiting for meaning to reveal itself. The “Quest” is an attempt to relay a personal take to the Israeli reality with a broader sense of belonging to the global human collectivity. Here the evidence of the past is so strongly intertwined with the marks of the present and questions about our future: sometimes it is possible to see all this revealed in front of one’s eye, and all at the same time. Religious, social aspects filter into everyday life and their meanings are exposed as the journey moves on. Jewish missionaries, lost souls and individuals living in the fringes of the society: all blends in to form this landscape of humanity.