This and That

Random bits of my life

Posts Tagged ‘light’

Pillars of Water

Posted by Avital Pinnick on April 20, 2015

Israel Museum in Jerusalem. I like playing with unfamiliar views of familiar objects.

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“Light Spaces” at the Israel Museum

Posted by Avital Pinnick on October 14, 2014

James Turrell, "Raemar Pink White"

James Turrell’s “Light Spaces” exhibit is in the Modern and Contemporary Art wing of the Israel Museum until the end of this month. His light installations at first seem not too remarkable–even migraine-inducing–but if you take the time to sit and study them, you become aware of changes in your perception. Walls and corners project and recede, colours change, and dimensions shift.

The “Raemar Pink White” installation (above), first shown in 1967, is part of the Shallow Spaces series, which uses light in a partitioned space to manipulate the eye’s perception of depth. By the way, when you leave the room, the world looks green.

“Afrum” (below) appears to be a white cube floating in space. This clever illusion is created by a strong light projected onto a corner of the room.

James Turrell, "Afrum"

“Key Lime” appears to be a translucent wall, suggested by the red borders. It’s created by coloured lights around the corner. You are allowed to walk into this installation.

James Turrell, "Key Lime"

A guard is telling two boys not to go too far. When you stand at the red “boundary” and twirl around, it likes your arm is disappearing into a wall.  These photographs were quite challenging because of the very dim light. Officially, photography is not allowed in this exhibit, but most rooms didn’t have guards (can you imagine having to sit in front of the pink rectangle for an hour?) and the guard in “Key Lime” didn’t object to my photographing the installation with my DSLR. He wasn’t too thrilled when one of the boys pulled out a cellphone and photographed it with a flash.

James Turrell, "Key Lime"

This installation is not part of “Light Spaces.” I photographed it because I’m interested in art that uses recycled objects. Ghanaian artist El Anatsui’s “Many Moons” is created entirely of flattened bottle caps that have been sewn together with copper wire in a pattern reminiscent of African Kente cloth. I don’t think the strips are bottle caps; the shape is different and they appear to be plastic. Perhaps they’re the wrappers that cover the tops of the bottles. The labour involved in creating this enormous sculpture is staggering. This piece drapes like cloth, although it’s entirely metal and plastic.

El Anatsui, "Many Moons"

Detail of circular strips flattened into triangles and sewn together.

El Anatsui, "Many Moons"

Bottle caps flattened into squares and sewn together.

El Anatsui, "Many Moons"

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Blue and Green Trail: A Couple Great Moments

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 13, 2014


Above: Fully moon photographed through the “Tower of Light” in Zahal Square.

I covered the Blue and Green trails last night, despite the heavy Thursday night crowds  (I move much faster when I’m alone). The best of the lot was the “Damascus Gate Chrysalis” (Damien Fontaine, France), a brilliant video-mapping installation. I’ll post other photos and a video later. If you plan to see it in person, don’t watch the video. The real thing is much more impressive. Someone asked me about security. None of the trails goes into the Muslim Quarter this year. The Damascus Gate installation is viewed from the street. There are a lot of police, ambulances, and security guards. I did these routes alone, as I have other years, and it was fine.

The “Damascus Gate Chrysalis” portrays the gate as blocks unfolding secrets, through curtains, machinery, flames, and tumbling blocks. If you see only one installation, do try to see this one.



The Broad Wall in the Jewish Quarter was transformed into “By the Rivers of Babylon” (creator: Eli Weisbart, designer: Yaron Zinman, Israel). A constantly changing projection, to the background of the psalm set to music, played over the stones of the wall, interweaving waves, fish, faces?, and other mysterious images. Unfortunately, this site is nearly inaccessible. The wall is below street level, surrounded by a high fence. The crowd was about 4-deep and children had to be lifted up to view it. I was able to photograph and video it only by holding my camera above my head and pointing it through the bars. If you go on a less crowded night you may have more luck.


The following exhibits I found only moderately interesting.

The “Fountain of Mythology” (Mystorin Theatre Group, Israel) was situated in the Muristan Square. If countertenors dressed like over-sized 17th century butterflies are your thing, this might interest you. I made a short video of the performance with an iPad, so you can decide for yourself.


Illuminated dancers (Pyromania, Israel) perform on the grass outside the Old City Wall on the way down to Damascus Gate.


Just one word for “Fishing for Light” (Nissan Gelbard, Israel): Numbing. Numbing trance music, numbing flashing lights.


In the home decor category: “Cloud” (Catlindr.c.Brown [sic] and Wayne Garrett, Canada). People seemed to like pulling on the strings to turn the lights on and off, but it didn’t appeal to me. Blue Trail


“Connected,” by Bernardo Scolnik, Israel.


If you’re having a deja vu moment, maybe you went to the Festival of Light in 2010 (also Bernard Scolnik):

Light sculptures along the street

“Thread of Light” (Ina Turbievsky, Israel): “The unique and complex ‘knitting’ technique employed by the designer weighs the deep meaning of each and every detail.” Nice lampshades.


“Holiday Atmosphere” at the Church of the Redeemer (Sarit Mor, Israel). At least it was only trying to be festive, without deep meaning.


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Video: “Jerusalem in Sand”

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 25, 2013

“Jerusalem in Sand,” performed by Sheli Ben Nun, to music by Sussita (Israel). This is a short section of the story of David and Bathsheva. The two male profiles depict King David and Uriah the Hittite, with Bathsheva in the background, between them.

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Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013: White Trail

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 16, 2013

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

This year several  exhibits used video-mapping. The photos above and below depict “Nón lá Poétry,” by ThéOriz Crew (France). The description says that the installation is intended to present viewers with a new and unconventional perspective on the Vietnamese conical hat. The surface of the wall is flat except for the cones, which have are hanging on the wall. (A short clip of the installation appears in the video I posted earlier.)

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

“Prima Ballerina,” by O*GE (Merav Eitan and Gaston Zahr) was much more popular than the installation they did two years ago (I forget what it was called but it looked like a hut made of orange glow sticks). I think I preferred their “Night Garden,” 2009. (I met Gaston Zahr that year when he found one of my Flickr photos of his installation and commented on it.) Still, the ballerina was very impressive. It was a tricky subject to photograph because the skirt is so bright and the face of the doll is in shadow. The doll is spinning, which makes it trickier to get a sharp focus.

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

“Light,” by Detlef Hargung and Georg Trenz (Germany), projects the word “light” in Hebrew and Arabic, moving in kaleidoscopic pattrns in Gan Hatekuma.

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

“Pyramid of Light,” by Heinz Kasper (Germany/Austria) is constructed of thousands of plastic bottles.

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

Beit Rothschild in Batei Machsei Square always has an impressive video-mapping installation. This year “Garden of My Dreams,” by Ocubo (Portugal) depicts children planting a garden, which grows with spectacular colours. The dog that you hear in the video isn’t part of the sound track. Someone brought a German shepherd, which was fascinated by the presentation and started howling.

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

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Video: Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 16, 2013

I put together a few video clips I took last week at the Jerusalem Festival of Light.

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Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013: Jaffa Gate

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 14, 2013

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

The fifth Jerusalem Festival of Light opened a week and a half ago and closed last night. We went three nights in a row last week. I can’t compare it to last year’s festival, because we were in Italy, but this year’s festival seemed smaller than previous exhibits. There were three instead of four trails, almost no live performances, and fewer exhibits. These photos were taken around Jaffa Gate, at the beginning of the white trail (full Flickr setslideshow).

The helium kites shaped like birds are “Les Luminéoles,” by Christophe Martine (France). In the photo below you can see the kite flyer behind the white fabric flowers.

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

The coloured bubbles lit inside are “Soul Forest,” by Lucion Média (Canada).

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

“Nomad Flowers,” by Gilbert Moity (France), by the moat of the Tower of David.

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

“Path of Stars,” also by Gilbert Moity, along Armenian Patriarchate Street.

Jerusalem Festival of Light 2013

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Photography: Never the Same River

Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 25, 2010


Heraclitus of Ephesus (c. 535–c. 475 BCE) wrote, “You can never step in the same river twice.” I studied the pre-Socratics in an “Intro to Western Philosophy” course as a freshman undergrad. That saying, which Heraclitus applied to change in the universe, caught my imagination. It always makes me think of photography, because I tend to think of light as a river — always flowing and changing.

One morning I was photographing a pomegranate flower while I was waiting for the minibus to work. A coworker said, “Haven’t you photographed everything around here? You have your camera with you every day and you must have photographed every plant and stone in the area by now.” I replied, “Probably, but that’s no reason to stop photographing them. They grow and change. The weather and light are always changing.” So, my friends, that’s why I photograph the plants and rocks and fences hundreds of times (a slight exaggeration, but only slight).

This evening, after work, I went to pick up the mail because my husband is working late, so I walked to the front of the building instead of going up the path to the back. It was around 6:40 p.m., the hour when the desert light turns soft and golden. Because we have so few clouds (I’m so jealous of you people in England and the US with your great sunsets!), the light is consistently beautiful at this time of day in warm weather, unless there’s a dust storm.

I was halfway up the stairs when I glanced at the street-side landscaping by the mailbox, the same palm trees and cycads that have been there for years. The light was at a great angle and I thought, “I have to photograph this now because the sun will not be in the same place tomorrow.” (If you don’t believe me, look at my photos of Amman taken this year and last year. That experience really made me appreciate the importance of the sun’s position on a given day.) Or I might not be in that spot or there might be clouds or a dust storm. So I dropped my backpack and mail on the sidewalk and took the shot of the cycad above and the two shots of the trunk of a palm tree below.

The position of the sun is particularly important for these shots of a tree trunk because you can only change your own position. You can’t uproot the tree and move it to a better spot. The bark is deeply textured but only light at a certain angle is going to show the feathery details of the base of a dried out palm frond or the torn edge where a dead frond has been trimmed.

Palm Trunk

Palm Trunk

Just for comparison’s sake, here’s a photo that I took of the same cycad, five days ago, at midday. It’s pretty and green but the shadows are underneath the leaves (obviously, because the sun is directly overhead), not slanting at an angle from the side. The greens are much brighter and rather pale.

Moral of the story, in case it’s not obvious: If you’re bored with photographing what’s around you, try it in a new light.

Moral 2: If you find good light, go hunt for something to photograph. It’s a lot easier coming up with a subject than with good natural light. Almost anything will look beautiful if the light is beautiful.



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