May 2014: Jerusalem, Israel
Dates: May 12–19, 2014
Begin / End: Jerusalem, Israel
Leaders: Jeffrey Chapman & Gali Tibbon
Maximum Participants: 8
(optional single supplement: $600)
Payment Policy: 3 Installments
• $500 deposit to confirm participation
• 50% due by January 15, 2014
• Balance due by March 15, 2014
This photographic adventure begins and ends in Jerusalem, Israel. Tuition includes accommodations (based on double occupancy; single occupancy is available with payment of a single-occupancy supplement), meals, and local group transportation for the duration of the adventure. It does not include souvenirs, bar beverages, laundry, insurance (travel, medical, cancellation), transfers between the airport and hotel, nor any personal expenses.
This adventure is suitable for all levels of photographic experience. Participants must be in good health and able to spend each day walking and carrying their own equipment.
Jerusalem Within The Frame Itinerary
Jerusalem was founded 5,000 years ago, ruled by King David 3,000 years ago, and was the site of the crucifixion of Jesus 2,000 years ago. For thousands of years it has been a cultural gem of historical importance and interest. The Old City is home to cornerstones of three major religions and has been a crossroad between east and west for millennia. The Egyptians, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Byznatines, Arabs, Crusaders, Mamaluks, Ottomans, and the British have all ruled over and then lost control of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem Within The Frame will be based in the walled Old City of Jerusalem and will explore, experience, and photograph the Christian, Muslim, Armenian, and Jewish quarters, Temple Mount, where Abraham is said to have prepared his son for sacrifice, Dome of the Rock, the Western (or Wailing) Wall, the Middle Eastern Suk Bazar, the Dead Sea, the baptismal site at Qasar Al- Yahud on the banks of the Jordan River, and Bethlehem, which the New Testament identifies as the birthplace of Jesus and the Hebrew Bible identifies as the birthplace of David and remains one of the oldest Christian communities in the world.
This is not going to be a rushed adventure, running from one site to the next to capture a few quick photographs as simple proof that we were there. We’re going to go slow, linger, absorb, take the time necessary to wait for the excitement of the new and exotic to blend with an understanding and appreciation of our surroundings, to find our visions. We’ll photograph in the early mornings and evenings, spend middays talking, discussing, learning, and working to develop our craft. This is an adventure of great cultural context and one for which cultural respect, including appropriate attire at religious sites, will be a must. (Participants will receive a briefing on the requisite attire—and other cultural considerations—prior to the adventure.)
This photographic adventure is about the passionate discovery and photography of people, place, and culture, with emphasis given to going deep not wide, and pursuing that most elusive of photographic necessities—our vision.
Jerusalem Old City (Day One)
We will arrive in Jerusalem in time for a meet-and-greet to finally get to now each other in person, have an orientation for our shared Jerusalem adventure, and enjoy our first dinner together.
Jerusalem Old City (Day Two)
In the morning, we will pass through the Damascus Gate to reach the Muslim quarter of the Old City. It is rich in architecture from the Mamluk period (1250–1516 CE) and is a labyrinth of alleyways that—with a lively and busy mix of people, nice light, and great shadows—are great for street photography. The key architectural attraction of the Muslim quarter is the Noble Sanctuary. It is a vast rectangular esplanade in the south-eastern part of the city. Traditionally the site of Solomon’s Temple, it later housed the Second Temple, which was enlarged by Herod the Great and was destroyed by the Romans in 70 CE. Hence, this plot is commonly known to Jews and Christians as the Temple Mount. The Dome of the Rock, built between 687–691 CE, is one of the first and most familiar achievements of Islamic architecture. It marks the spot from where Muslims believe the Prophet Muhammad ascended to heaven. The al-Aqsa Mosque was begun less than 20 years after the completion of the Dome of the Rock. When the Crusaders captured Jerusalem in the 11th century, al-Aqsa became the headquarters of the Templars. We will photograph al-Aqsa in the early-morning light.
As part of today’s activities, we will have a brief cultural overview of Jerusalem’s Old City, a discussion on photographing religious observances, and some pointers for photographing people as well as photographing inside buildings. The rest of the day will be devoted to becoming familiar with and photographing in the Christian and Jewish quarters of the Old City.
Qasar Al- Yahud, Dead Sea, & St. George’s Monastery (Day Three)
Today we will venture out of Jerusalem to photograph at the baptismal site Qasar Al- Yahud on the banks of the Jordan River where pilgrims go every day. According to the gospels, Jesus was baptized in the water of the Jordan River by John the Baptist. We will also photograph at the Dead Sea. Located at the lowest exposed point on the Earth’s surface, it is the deepest hyper-saline lake in the world. As a result of the unusually high salt concentration the water is denser than the human body and it is therefore impossible to not float. It is a more light-hearted place to photograph as people float, covering themselves in mud, etc. On the drive between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea we will pass the lovely landscapes of the Judea Desert and will stop to photograph St. George’s Monastery. Inhabited by Greek Orthodox monks, the monastery is reached by a pedestrian bridge across the Wadi Qelt, which many imagine to be Psalm 23′s Valley of the Shadow.
Jerusalem Old City or Bethlehem (Day Four)
In the morning, we will photograph the Western (or Wailing) Wall and the Bar Mitzvah ceremonies in the plaza.
The Western Wall is the only remaining wall of the Holy Temple, which was otherwise destroyed in 70 CE, and provides the border between the Temple Mount and the Jewish Quarter. The Western Wall is the most holy site where Jews can pray. (The holiest site is Temple Mount, but prayer for non-Muslims is forbidden.) Beneath the vast ancient stones, you will see Ultra Orthodox Jews in traditional outfits praying next to Israeli soldiers and secular Jews. According to tradition, visitors write their prayers and wishes on little papers and push them into the cracks between the ancient stones, hoping they will be fulfilled. Every Monday and Thursday, Bar Mitzvah ceremonies are held in the plaza. Often the boys are escorted by drummers and people blowing “Shofar” Jewish horns.
Those who prefer can spend the morning in Bethlehem as part of an optional excursion today. It is a site of obvious spiritual importance. However, it is potentially less photographically interesting than Jerusalem’s Old City, particularly the Holy Sepulchre; so this will be an optional morning excursion. (Early each morning, there is a small procession at the Nativity Church.)
Mount of Olives & Jerusalem Old City (Day Five)
In the morning, we will visit the Mount of Olives for great views of the city just after sunrise. As we descend we will come across many religious sites, including the Mosque of the Ascension, where there may be pilgrims, and the Church of St. Mary Magdalene. The Jewish cemetery is also interesting to photograph as is Mary’s Tomb in Gath Shemani.
In the afternoon, there will be a Latin procession along the Via Dolorosa that we will want to photograph.
Jerusalem Old City & Ultra Orthodox Jewish Neighborhoods (Day Six)
Within the Christian quarter is the Holy Sepulchre, where Christ was crucified. Many pilgrims follow his last footsteps to this church along the 500 meter (1,640 feet) Via Dolorosa with its nine Stations of the Cross (another five are inside the Holy Sepulchre). Every day there are groups of pilgrims walking this route with large crosses. Following a centuries-long struggle over power and territory, the Holy Sepulchre is divided between six denominations of Christianity. The fierce devotion with which each faction guards its turf is legendary. Three main sects—Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodox, and Armenian—have principal custody of the Church under an edict issued in 1852 by the ruling Ottoman Sultan, known today as the Status Quo agreement. The additional denominations—Coptic (Egyptian), Syriac Orthodox, and Ethiopian—are given space within the Church. The Sultan’s Status Quo, still adhered to today, has left the Church standing frozen in time. There is a daily Latin (Catholic) procession in the afternoon (and a smaller one in the morning).
The Jewish feast of Lag Ba’Omer will be celebrated this night with large bonfires, which represent the light of the Torah. There will be great photographic opportunities in the Ultra Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods near the Old City. Earlier in the evening, the Armenians will have a very nice procession at the Holy Sepulchre.
Jerusalem Old City (Day Seven)
Beginning in the early morning hours, we will photograph Sunday processions and Coptic, Latin, Syriac, and Greek masses at the Holy Sepulchre. We will also enjoy our last full day of photography in the Old City.
Jerusalem Old City (Day Eight)
Our final morning. You will likely want to spend it enjoying the company of your new friends and exploring the Old City one last time before saying our goodbyes and heading home.
Although this represents the photographic adventure’s planned itinerary, it is subject to change at the discretion of the adventure leaders.