I have to admit, my first day in Israel, I couldn’t quite see why so many Psalms praised the beauty of the land. It’s much hillier than I had expected (although here they call mountains what at home we call hills…), and covered with rocks and boulders. But the further we have travelled here, the more I see its praiseworthy beauty. Someone has said, “When God went to create the world, he decided to create a scale model, and called it Israel.” There’s truth in this; within very short distances, it is possible to go from sea to mountain to valley to desert. A great deal of variety (not to mention history) are packed into this small country, and every twenty minutes of driving brings to view a new geography.

It’s spring here, and the flowers are in full bloom. The above field of wild poppies is in the Jordan River Valley. The near side is Israel; the other side of the river is the country of Jordan.

One of my favorite adventures so far on the trip was swimming in the Dead Sea. The lowest point on the face of the earth, the Dead Sea (also known as the Salt Sea) is composed so heavily of minerals that nothing grows or lives in it. Its mineral composition also makes the water so dense that you can sit down in it and float. Which was great for me, since I don’t normally have a floatable bone in my body. That was a real delight, to lie in the water, without effort or fear, and bob like an apple.

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I’ve been in Israel for several days now. It’s fairly overwhelming to be in a place where you’re constantly exposed to about 5000 years of history. Sorting it all out is difficult. But it’s obviously a special place, the crossroads of the world, really.

At Hell’s Gate (an ancient temple area of Greek influence, dedicated to Pan) in Caesarea Phillipi, I had some fun photographing children from a local kibbutz. Seeing so many historical sites is fascinating, but photos of piles of rocks gets old. It was enjoyable to see some life amongst the ruins.

These two images are from the Sea of Galilee. It’s a fascinating area, with so many historical, meaningful places within walking distance of each other. The area is very hilly, and I frequently imagine Jesus walking and boating about, disciples in tow.

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I was given a walking tour of the Langas slums by Pastor Esther, a dear woman working there with poor children. She takes in children, teaches them, feeds them, helps them get into schools, and much more. Below you’ll find a few images from Langas, as we walked and talked through the area. See if you can find my self-portrait….

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One of our buses that carts us around….

People waiting patiently at the free medical clinic….

A new friend, Barnabas, who works in housekeeping at the hotel….

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We spent a few hours in London on Sunday, between flights. It was a very quick tour, on a beautiful, sunny, spring day. A few favorites:

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Well, having made it to Kenya, through 4 airplanes and a lengthy bus ride, we are in Eldoret. A beautiful, beautiful country, sunny, with friendly people. It’s good to be here.

Yesterday I photographed the dedication of the Open Arms Village property, a groundbreaking ceremony for the grounds that will become a medical clinic for the villagers, an AIDS orphanage, and more. In good African tradition, the ceremony started about 2 hours late, and people kept arriving throughout the day–probably about a thousand of them, all arriving by foot or bicycle.

Part of the festivities included a ceremonial procession and dance by the local Callingen tribal ceremony. This is their leader.

I can only say I was jealous of this young man’s repose; it was a long day. And unlike me, he doesn’t have to worry about sunburn….

As I was working, this man, David, invited me to his home. With his wife, we walked the red dirt paths, through barbed wire fences and fields, to their beautiful little farm. Over tea, we talked about farming, looked over their Bible and hymn book (in Callingen), and watched a few minutes of lions bringing down a zebra on their 9-inch black and white television (powered by a 12-volt car battery). A sweet couple, and the highlight of my day.

On the way back from lunch at the local Chief’s house, this woman asked me–with hand gestures and words I could not comprehend–to take her photograph. No, the locals (except for this woman) don’t all dress in furs and have large holes in their ears, as this woman does. But who can turn down a request to take such a photograph?

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  • March 14, 2007 - 4:00 pm

    alicia marie - amazing pictures, cuz. I love looking at all your pictures, but these ones are magnificent! I’m a little jealous that you get to go to Africa!. Is Shannon with you?

It’s fitting that I photographed Bob and Kitty Magee today. I was hired by Seattle Pacific University‘s magazine Response to create a portrait of this dynamic couple. They helped found the Bible Study Fellowship in Africa and the Middle East, while they were based in Nairobi, Kenya. A vivacious couple, full of energy and very hospitable.

The fitting part: I leave for Kenya in the morning. I’ll be photographing there for a couple weeks, with Open Arms International. I traveled with OA to India a couple years ago, documenting their medical relief work after the tsunami. This time I’ll be documenting their work with medical clinics for street youth and others in Kenya, as well as their Small Business Conference, Women’s Conference, Sports Camp, and more. Plus, they’re dedicating their 52-acre property, on which they will be building an orphanage and medical clinic. Pretty cool stuff.

After Kenya, we’ll be off to Israel for a week. Keep an eye on the blog here for updates. As I am able (if I am able), I’ll try to post interesting images and stories from the trip.

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A couple weeks ago I photographed at a local middle school during Spirit Week. The particular day I was there was Create Your Own Superhero Day. What a delight to watch the kids come in with their own superhero costumes, names, and superpowers. I took a lot of photographs.
One particular favorite, above, is of a demure young lady who came in as the Snow Fairy. Her superpower is to magically take the coldness out of people so their hearts are warm. My heart is warmed just looking at her and her lovely costume.
You can view more portraits of the age of adolescence on my fine art photography website.
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Isn’t Junior High just a wonderful memory?
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  • March 2, 2007 - 6:58 pm

    Marico - No, junior high was the WORST! I’m glad someone enjoyed it…personally, I couldn’t wait to leave.

    By the way, Mr. Home School, what are YOUR junior high memories? 😉

  • March 2, 2007 - 7:39 pm

    FritzPhoto - Hey, I wasn’t home schooled, but I did go to Christian schools most of my education. I did go to public school in the 9th grade (the last year it was a Junior High). It was mostly a good experience.

    When I worked on the Welcome to Wonderland project, photographing adolescents for several years, everybody I told about the project had the same reaction: I hated middle school! I guess my reaction to that age wasn’t quite so violent, although it wasn’t easy. (Ask me about being suspended for 2 days sometime….)

    I really do enjoy photographing kids at that age, though. They’re a blast to watch: so dynamic, crazy, surprising, full of potential. They surtprise me all the time with their thoughts, abilities, creativity. They’re still trying to figure out who they are, and it’s a fun, touching process to watch.

  • March 3, 2007 - 1:56 am

    Jessica - Uh, yeah, no. Junior high was my own personal two year nightmare. But your photographs of Jr. High kids don’t make me think of that at all – they make me think of them the way you describe them in your comment there.

  • March 3, 2007 - 12:19 pm

    FritzPhoto - I’ll have to work on taking some more horrific photos of junior high, I guess. What specifically do you remember that was terrible?

  • March 5, 2007 - 2:07 pm

    Marico - I remember people I had been friends with since before I could walk becoming totally different people, seemingly over-night…You’re right, everyone is trying to figure out who they are, and though it may be intriguing from the outside, it was a painful, confusing process at the time.

I just received this photograph, an installation view of one of my images on display at the Musee de l’Elysee in Lausanne, Switzerland. It’s part of the show “All Photographers Now”,”from February 8th, 2007 to May 20th, 2007. If you happen to be in the Lausanne area, be sure to stop in!

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  • March 1, 2007 - 2:29 am

    Anonymous - Yesssssssssssss!!!

I find myself more and more drawn to faces, alone. I love to watch people, but usually in photographing them I’m making some statement about who they are, utilising their environment, dress, body language, action.
But faces. Like a butterfly hunter with his swinging net, searching constantly for something intriguing, out of the ordinary, or even something lovely in its ordinariness, I begin to collect faces. Eyes, really. And light.
In Mexico, I met a local man with the most beautiful green eyes. His name was Fili, and we expected to spend a day or two with him. Unfortunately, due to illness, we never saw him again, and I grieve the loss of the image of his kind face and those beautiful green eyes. So I become more diligent, capturing what intrigues me, swinging my net about for those rare beauties that come along the path. Pinning them to velvet for remembrance, inspiration.
Georgia O’Keefe’s teacher taught her to “fill the canvas with beautiful things,” so I shall.
You can view more of what I see on my fine art photography website
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SPU’s Gospel Choir Director Stephen Newby

I had a job this evening photographing the Seattle Pacific University Choir and Symphony. Tough job to shoot creatively in an hour. But I managed to knock out some favorites with their spirited choir and director. Here you go:

This girl saved my bacon; just the enthusiasm I needed for some energetic shots.

Ever wondered what a choir looked like from the backside on stage? I hadn’t either.
But it’s pretty cool, and the whole stage shakes when they dance and sing….

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