September 17, 2009

Photo of the Week: Sept. 1, 2009

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: Across Israel, in the latter days of summer, fruit hangs heavy on the vine, or, in this case, on the frond. Dates thrive in the Israeli desert, from the Negev to the Jordan Valley region where this photo was taken, just outside Beit Shean. For centuries, date palms have been a source of food, shelter and precious shade in an arduous climate. This nearly ripe bunch of dates drew my attention because of the variegated colors in the fruit. As I often do when photographing fruit that grows in bunches, I cropped tightly to create the impression that there is an unseen, endless abundance just beyond the photo's edge. After harvest, these dates have an uncertain date with destiny. They may be eaten fresh or dried, crunchy or soft, or perhaps fermented into a form of Arak popular in Iraq. In the Torah, when Israel is described as a land flowing with milk and honey, the honey referred to is generally that of the date fruit. And that, of course, is the sweetest destiny of all.

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