HOW I GOT THE SHOT: I've taken thousands of prayer-related photographs. Most of these images were taken during a prayer service, with a focus on the person praying and the various ritual objects as they are being used. These pictures make us think more about the person engaged in prayer than any other aspect of the photo. By contrast, this image features a familiar subject, a tallit or prayer shawl, found exactly as seen here on a shelf in a coat room of the enormous Slonim Yeshiva in Jerusalem.
This still-life study of a tallit begs the questions, why is it here and to whom does it belong? As long as we have a previous relationship to this or a similar object, we can begin the journey of imagination that accompanies the visual experience. Both motivated my decision to stop and take the picture in the first place.
I used my zoom lens to capture the tallit up close using only the beautiful light pouring over the tzitzit from a nearby window. The composition is strengthened by the two single strings which fall through the center of the entwined fringes. Finally, because I was shooting at close range, depth of field was limited and I had to make a careful choice about where to focus. I chose the point where the tzitzit and loose strings meet, which felt like the most obvious visual center point of the photograph.
TECHNICAL DATA: Nikon D-300, 18-200 zoom at 150mm, f5.6 at 1/50 sec., ISO 1000.