In November 2010 I spent a week in Israel, mostly Jerusalem. The city, both old and new, east and west, has long been one of my favorite places in the world and has been since I first went there in the summer of 1974. Not so much for religious reasons but because it is one of those places where history is so alive and intense you feel as though you can smell the millennia of overlapping civilizations and cultures, but probably it is just the incense and dust. Even today, especially today, there is just an intense jumble of cultures, religions, and politics. People from around the world want to be there.
Physically the Old City of Jerusalem is a small place but what is inside its often destroyed and rebuilt stone walls refuses to be neatly contained by words or ideas or theologies. The city is so full of physical and graphic symbols -even color is symbol — meaning so many different things to different people that the city itself is a symbol and what that symbol means is going to mean very different things depending on who you are and where you are coming from. The light there is also wonderful.
The gentleman in this photograph owns a shop on the Via Dolorosa. He is standing in front of the security gate of the shop across the road, which is narrower than a single car lane, across from his shop. I had found the green door and liked the light and settled down for a few minutes waiting for something to happen. He walked up and asked if I needed some help. One look at his face and I knew I’d found what I was waiting for. I asked him to pose, he graciously agreed and three frames later I was done. I wish I could find his card. I owe him a copy of this.