April 13, 2009

Photo of the Week: April 14, 2009

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: As a parent, there is no subject which offers more opportunity for outstanding pictures than one's child. Until now, I've managed to abstain from including a photograph of one of my four children in this series, but on the occasion of my oldest child reaching the age of legal adulthood – and with her permission – I thought it appropriate to do so now. Certainly nothing better fits the category of beauty in Israel than a young, talented, intelligent woman reaching maturity.

As part of her high school certification, my daughter Liora chose to take a 5-point exam in cello, an instrument she has been playing since she was 11 years old. Part of the examination includes a public recital, where I took this photograph, just minutes after stepping off a 16-hour plane trip from California. The room was fittingly dark and the organizers chose to light the stage with one continuous hot light set back about 10 feet from my daughter. Accompanied on the piano, Liora played an emotional 30-minute set of Saint-Saƫns, Bach, Haydn and Schumann, while I quietly snuck around the stage shooting without a flash. The photo meets several criteria that I use to measure my success. First, there is interesting light. Shooting directly into the hot light, but lowering my shooting position so the light itself is hidden, creates beautiful rim lighting around her profiled head. The shot is also taken from an unusual angle with a close crop, slightly obscuring the picture's content and engaging the viewer to try to make sense of what he is seeing.

As Passover draws to a close this week, we pause to commemorate the crossing of the sea, one of many great miracles G-d performed for the young nation of Israel on its path to freedom. As my daughter crosses over into adulthood, I bless her that she may meet all of life's challenges with both faith and fortitude.


Avitalp said...

Lovely photo but how on earth did you manage to get behind her on stage without distracting the audience?

Yehoshua Halevi said...

I wasn't concerned with the audience and the shot is taken from the side of the stage, not the rear. I asked my daughter before the concert if she minded if I took pictures. She said no. That's all that mattered. But it's a good question. When I shoot in a situation that has potential for distraction, I move very slowly and quietly and also stay low to the ground if I'm in someone's sight line. And if I think my presence may cause someone to blunder, I back off.

Avitalp said...

Another question just occurred to me. What did you do about the shutter noise? The sound of a DSLR would be quite audible during a cello recital.

sparrow said...

I have just found your blog and wanted to say how beautiful the photo of your daughter is. I am so glad she let you take it - in years to come it will be a real milestone. It is also great to be able to wander through Israel via your photos (from the ends of the earth in NZ). I will be a regular visitor from now on.
Found your blog via "How to be Israeli"

Yehoshua Halevi said...

Hi Sparrow,
NZ may be the "end of the earth," but having been there and walked there - Tongariro, Abel Tasman, Routeburn - I would say it's a gorgeous place to "end" up! Would love to make it back some day. Just curious, though, why would one google, "How to be Isreali?" I've been trying for years, and it's very difficult. All the best,