THREE YEARS AGO – A TRAVEL DIARY
by Omri Shomer
My love for street photography began to sprout 10 years ago, but it was only 3 years ago that I discovered that the Carmel Market is the go-to place in Israel for photography. This market is located in Tel Aviv and is quite a fascinating place. It’s a sort of long passageway that joins all the pieces of the puzzle of Israeli society – religious and secular, Arabs and Jews, vivid colors, aromatic scents combined with the smell of sewage, and a strong sense of reminiscence of simpler times when people would actually meet in person to see each other. I would visit the market almost every week, sometimes even twice a week, and I’d see many photographers there. It was a meeting place of creativity. During these past three years I’ve experienced quite a few things there that I’ve written down. I’ll share them with you now together with accompanying photographs.
August 15th, 2014
It was a hot day, and as I was entering the market I see a large group of photographers. Some of them were pretty well known, others less so. One of them, who was about my age, was standing on the side and holding a shiny new Leica camera. I was quite impressed and approached him, complimenting him on his camera. He smiled and told me that he had snuck out of work early in order to catch the last few hours of daylight. He told me how he had taken out a big loan in order to buy this camera rather than saving up the money for his family – his wife and newborn child. He then began to curse and told me that it’s best I stay away from street photography, since it’s an addiction that will ruin my life. I kept quiet and continued taking pictures.
March 23rd, 2015
I’m taking pictures of three French tourists as they are checking out a souvenir stand. One of them noticed that I had taken his picture, and they angrily approached me. I swear that I didn’t take pictures of them – and really didn’t know if they got in the shot – since my camera was at my waist level when I was taking the shot and I didn’t actually look through the viewfinder. Nevertheless, they insisted on seeing the pictures. I’m praying in my heart that everything ends well and peacefully, hoping that I had missed the shot. One of them sees his picture, at which point I tell him a joke and he laughs. I deleted the picture. He told me that I was really lucky. We went our separate ways on good terms.
July 29th, 2016
An older lady stops by a watermelon stand, and using her hand breaks off a small piece of a watermelon and eats it. The vendor gets upset, and she asks him if he understands Russian. He yells at her and makes her buy the entire watermelon. She buys it and goes on her way. I go up to the watermelon stand and smile to the vendor as I jokingly ask him if the watermelons are free today. He looks at me and starts laughing. We shake hands and I ask him if it’s okay to take a picture of him, at which point he tells me that he’ll break my legs. I go on my way.