August 25, 2009

Photo of the Week: Aug. 25, 2009

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: As we make our way through the new Hebrew month of Elul, the Jewish New Year and High Holy Days can't be far behind. For some residents of Jerusalem, it's time to get out the holy holiday garb, hang it on the line, and let the rarefied mountain air heighten its purity. Or at least dry it out after a thorough washing. Every place has sights that can be seen nowhere else, and this clothesline strung with a kittel and the white beanies worn by followers of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov, is the perfect example of an image found only in Israel.

As an outsider to the Haredi religious communities in Jerusalem, I tread lightly through the streets when searching for pictures that reveal the unique character of these neighborhoods. More often than not, however, and as is frequently the case just about everywhere when I reveal my interest in someone else's life, I am welcomed and invited to photograph. The owner of these garments was sweeping his courtyard as I passed by and looked curiously at his peculiar load of laundry. Observing my interest, he called to me to come have a closer look. That proved crucial to getting this shot, because from the street, I could not see the shadow patterns formed by the row of hats hanging out to dry. By accepting the invitation to come a little closer, I gained a better perspective from which to shoot and, through our brief encounter, an enhanced understanding of a fellow Jew.