4th March 2016

I am both physically and mentally itching. It has been a hectic week and time has escaped me. This is partly due to naively adopting a 6 week old kitten that is both epically cute and insatiably demanding. I have also managed to develop a severe allergy to said beast. It feels truly reflective of my headspace regarding photography and travel. Trapped, itching and irritated. It seems like years since I’ve been on a plane. I’m yearning to escape.

I am hoping it will only be so long until I wander innocently onto skyscanner…

Due to my lapse, as the rules state here are a couple of images with a tale.

Mea Sharim is one of the most religious areas of Jerusalem. Time decelerates a few hundred years as you enter the cobbled streets and busy narrow roads that cars frequently dare to speed through. Black is the attire. Eyes are mostly down (when I walk past most definitely). The district isn’t threatening, it’s interesting, isolating but not unpleasant.

On my final day after an exhausting itinerary I find myself following Waze through the back streets of Mea Sharim for the final time, anxious that my wagon needs to be back in two hours in order to prep for my desert trip the following morning.

Thankfully I arrive at the parking spot and climb the dark concrete stairs to the family who are expecting me. None of the members speak English but they are warm and I like them. The greet me with a smile and lead me to the kitchen where, as explained a few days back they would be baking bread for the evening. I feel mass blend of tiredness, confusion and pressure. Time is limited and I really don’t want to be rude or for them to feel like I’m bull dozing in, shooting and then dashing off. They are patient, generous and helpful and soon the heart of the home is running out of air space.

When shooting I often ‘home in’ on certain subjects… individuals who have a specific appeal, sometimes I can instantly identify what it is that has seduced me; bright green eyes, gangly awkward limbs or a certain emotional shyness or intensity…other times I can’t – a punctum and one that niggles me even after I ve developed the film.

This was the case with one of these women. The room was spilling with characters of all ages, genders and all adorned differently. But for some reason this young women stuck out. She looked like an Egon Schiele muse, one with a story. She spoke no English and seemed approachable yet distant. Perhaps it was also that she was less self-aware than the others. She was more engrossed in her bread making task and gossip than the alien English girl hanging by the doorframe with a camera.

The second image is from the family in Mea Sharim that I’ve mentioned in a previous post. Taking to the streets was a rare treat but a few of the youngsters seemed keen to venture nearby to play. These three sisters were calm and seemed eager to help. The eldest spoke the best English I had heard since arriving, but after a mere three minutes they were called off back home, disappearing into the windy darkening streets of the old town that seemed forever stuck in the past.