18 October 2015
This is my friend Fatima. The shy young Arab Israeli assistant of Rueben, an Iranian Jewish Israeli cloth merchant whose tiny premises are inside the ancient market in the centre of old Akko (Acre) in the north of Israel. Rueben has lived most of his life in Israel and Akko since he fled his birthplace in the 1950s when to be a Jew in Persia was virtually a capital offence. Fatima herself was born and grew up in the old town.
Akko itself is a sheltered harbour with a history which stretches back to biblical times and probably beyond. The British Mandatory Government based a police station and prison there in what is a fortress built by the Knights Templar during the crusades. On the edge of the old city, the fortress which is now a museum was previously an hospital for the mentally ill. During the 600 odd years rule by Turkey’s Ottomans it was host to many visiting armies. Napoleon based his Mediterranean fleet here and long before that there were Phoenicians and Romans too.
Today as then the narrow cobbled streets and alleyways throng with a multitude of residents of many cultures and the harbour is home to dozens of fishing boats and leisure craft packed like the people tightly yet in colourful harmony.
But back to Fatima. The beautiful young lady posed for me shyly after a little prompting and relaxed enough to give a faint smile.
The Canon 5D Mark ii and EF24-105mm f4L IS USM at the long end have rendered a softly diffused background of multi-coloured bales of cloth. The scene was lit by natural daylight from windows looking on to the market.
I hope you like it as much as I do.
Image: Fatima © Dave Tachauer