One of the advantages of living somewhere where an occupying force refuses to allow you the use of electricity is that low wattage generated light, kerosene lamps and candles give the visiting photographer some beautiful hues and tones to work with. It doesn't have too many advantages for the family who live here though.
Whatever the reasons for the wider conflict my heart goes out to the Palestinian Christian family I stayed with, increasingly besieged on their mountain top near Bethlehem. Dedicated to a peaceful resolution to the region's problems thay have in so many ways become the victims of all sides but have not given way to victimhood......in their own capacity they are very actively working for peace in simple and inspiring ways. It was a privilege to work with them last summer.
International visitors and volunteers are highly regarded by many Palestinians, they can provide witness, offer some protection and of course the eyes to see and voices to tell a more balanced truth to the world. For the majority of Palestinian children it is their only opportunity to make contact with a wider world.
This family would no longer have their land without the concerted protest of internationals which prevented its seizure a few years ago. On another occasion the owner was at risk of losing his life to an armed settler and then arrested for protesting the illegal occupation of his own land. Swiss, German, English and American supporters wrote hundreds of letters to the Israeli government and an Israeli lawyer took on the case. He was successful in protecting the land for another round of judicial procedure. Daoud is 'lucky' - he is one of the few Palestinian landowners to have papers proving his familiy's ownership of the land in this area.
Card playing is a game of chance and a game of skill..........chance and skill can be life and death factors in an environment where a slow burning war persists. I saw something profoundly thoughtful going on in Zoe's face when I took this - way beyond the card game - I wanted to capture it. She is one of those visiting 'Internationals' - a very fine and increasingly successful photographer and a very principled person......passionate about social justice.
You can read a little about an exhibition she had at the recent Format 06 festival in the UK here
Critiques | Translate
sanalytis (1634) 2007-01-21 4:42
This is excellenct use of the natural light and really wonderful composition. This is a great portrait..like it very much. Well done.
christian_v (874) 2007-01-21 4:54
From the small source of light
This is like an ancient oil painting
Vanni (172) 2007-01-21 4:57
Indeed, beautiful tones of colour. it looks to be that it has a good balance between darkness and light.
It seems to me from what you posted that these poeple live between hope and desperation. Hope probabaly being just the flame of candle but still prominent. Still the light that defines the most important feature of a human being and wamrs the atmosphere.
Thanks for sharing. your photo is not just aestheticlly beatiful but thanks to the note you posted makes it very meaningful. Congrats!!
fotohadi (2967) 2007-01-21 5:13
Hi Kev. This is excellent composition and very good portrait. Thank you Hadi.
brevbrev14 (140) 2007-01-21 5:14
and this is a great great portrait with superb lights!!!
A perfect composition with a wonderful expression of the woman...
A cinematic image!
delnaja (2054) 2007-01-21 5:40
superb light... It creates an intimate connextion with the mood and the concentration of the cards player.
A pure beauty....
russte (0) 2007-01-21 6:22
Hi Kev, I thought this was one of Kaj's latest series from the thumbnail. An exquisite, powerful and haunting portrait. Very good decision not to correct the colour balance - the glow of the candlelight adds a huge intimacy. The best of your Palestinian series I think and one of the very best of an exceptional year so far on TE. It has to be a favourite. Best wishes Stephen
marknunnerley (2780) 2007-01-21 8:26
Now this is nice light Kev. This really captures the mood and is very well framed. Very nice shot Kev. Doesn't need for me to say anymore, it's that good.
designsoul (21492) 2007-01-21 13:10
This is more than chiaroscuro, or sfumato, this is something so exquisite, dear Kev, I cannot wean myself from... first I didn't see where you took it and when you talked of "occupying forces" I thought you were fabricating some funny story, but then reading on, I woke up to the reality of your words... and the shot has become even more profound and even more amazing. Simply amazing... now that i have reached the 100th favourite, I will ask you to kindly help me create a second batch of favourites where I can place this shot. I cannot express my awe... this is beauty itself.
AnimeshRay (9087) 2007-01-21 15:32
A superb study, in light and shadow, but above all a study of character. A profoundly moving portrait that expresses her inner anguish. Even without your very informative and insightful note the impact of the character is apparent through the image. The note complements.
Angelillo (9372) 2007-01-21 15:41
No many words from me this time, because I don't have the just words. Excellent note, eerie shot, the light and shadows are perfect, like artwork and like proof of reality! Thanks,
SamB (1948) 2007-01-21 16:44
Great work here, and very significant and meaningful note. The light worked great for you, as you said, and your tight crop is effective. Your use of her contemplative look and deep shadow across her face communicates the thoughtfullness and intensity that you claim she possesses.
Polonaise (5802) 2007-01-21 16:52
Great, 'light created' photograph, dear Kev.
Gift of how to use existing light for your photography needs, is one of the most precious gifts, one can poses.
Nothing more true applies to this charm.
Captivating image in every possible aspect of it.
Yes…Every inch of it.
Yes. It matches the theme quite beautifully. Smart choice.
PS 1: What, on Abraham's shaggy beard, this photo has anything to do with Palestinian-Israeli conflict…Beats me ???
PS2: (Do I see some Kaj…around :D)
luisafonso (862) 2007-01-21 17:47
When I say that your Bethlehem journey produced some of best photos I've seen from you here I am not joking... Another perfect example is here for everyone to see. Amazing portrait. The light is so well controlled and produced such a strong character that it's almost impossible not to think this one as a staged controlled photo. The hues are really amazing and go so well with each other. That olive green gentle background, the green cards and the blacks shadows are really good. Love this one my friend. Another pearl for your portraiture work.
Clairedelune (4923) 2007-01-21 22:45
What very perfect this photo is! Not only, the woman is beautiful, but the balance between the light and the shadow is so good that it makes her even more beautiful.
There is no way I can add more words here. There is no way I want to add more words here. When a photo is so full of silence, I think the best way to praise it is to respect that silence. And just keep in looking at it...
Thanks Kev for this beauty.
jinju (14265) 2007-01-22 0:59
great subtle lighting, a beautiful crisp portrait in what was really dark conditions. I love the look of concentration on her face, in her eyes, the cards pressed to her chin, hiding, contemplating her move.
bantonbuju (51781) 2007-01-22 2:34
well well well...quite a strong text in the first paragraph i'd say...
its all about light, this image, kev,
i think one of your warmest, sensual photos from that trip... love it...
golden (2289) 2007-01-22 6:18
Wonderful portrait Kev!
Oldtree (2457) 2007-01-23 2:25
Like a painting. Very beautiful warm light and an excellent moment to capture the women on "film".
nursez (1903) 2007-01-25 13:52
a beautiful portrait+the not=a great job,thankyou.
nbj (2095) 2007-01-29 9:40
Thank you for a beautiful picture and a beautiful message. I am touched by both.
dolin (15647) 2007-02-05 14:08
Splendid light and shadows games.
the position of the hands with cards, the glance....pffffff magic !
Just fabulous !
In my favorites
sabyasachi1212 (19771) 2007-02-07 1:48
I was having a look around your gallery and with my fascination for portraits, this one simply stood out. As you have said, sometimes there are blessings in disguise and this was sure one such opportunity making good use of the limited light.
With Greetings from India
Glint (6165) 2007-04-06 19:34
a masterpiece if ever I saw one. And masterly note making too.
Viera (948) 2007-04-07 4:00
nice portrait, I like composition and light
amino (418) 2009-03-23 9:45
This is a beautiful soft portrait of endurance with a humane vibe yet a melancholic soft female face. A deep expression, timeless with the shadows emphasizing the ambiguity and unpredictability of the environment. Excellent and poetic note.
- Copyright: Kev Ryan (KevRyan) (22952)
- Genre: People
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2006-07-00
- Categories: Decisive Moment
- Camera: Canon EOS 5D
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Theme(s): Your Favourites 2, Sasa's Favourites, 100-200, Favourite portraits [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2007-01-21 4:39
- Favorites: 7 [view]