Photography out of Israel

A bit of fun in the Classroom…

I teach photography in a local Art College here in Jerusalem. For our first lesson we learnt about allowing the light to draw our photograph. In the second lesson we learnt how to use the light and shadow. For our third lesson we had a look at creating light, using artificial lighting.

16 girls all packed into my dining room (the classroom wasn’t available for some reason) and they had already arrived an hour late. First lesson learnt,  you do not need a proper studio to create studio photography. I was there with my friend Aharon Hyman and during the lesson we would be demonstrating how we would approach several photographic challenges. A demonstration as to how professionals approach a task with setup, lighting, posing, etc.

The first challenge was a self portrait. I created a simple silhouette portrait that I’ve had in mind for some 6 months now. Two lights on a white background and making sure none of the light hit me. A self portrait is the ultimate in artistic self expression and one where subtlety rules. When my wife saw this picture her comment was ‘wow that’s you all over’. Mission accomplished.

The next challenge involved photographing a girl with a water element. A very wide definition and one that called for some interpretation. I knew I wanted to get one of my students wet, what teacher could honestly say that they wouldn’t? I called for volunteers and a brave and fun student offered to be our sacrifice. Using just two lights, a backlight camera right without diffuser and a light below and camera left for fill we had sufficient illumination. A bit of colour however was necessary to add feeling, a transparent blue plastic folder hastily cut up provided an impromptu gel for the backlight. A couple of test shots and then half a bucket of water later and you have the image at the top of the page.

It was a difficult shot to achieve. The timing was crucial, there was time only for a single shot and it had to be taken just as the water hit the student. It worked perfectly.

Next Aharon did his water+ student picture. Taking his Bowens 500 strobe outdoors in the bright Jerusalem sun he shot at full power to completely overcome the ambient light until it went black. f22 and the softbox very close to the subject if you’re interested. He then closed the sliding door infront of the student, used a speedlite as fill then with another student flicking water drops at the window took this shot:


The subtlety of the lighting in this image can very easily be overlooked when we are busy being wowed that a sunny Jerusalem day has been turned into a dark and rainy vista. It is however an extremely well lit picture dripping, if you will pardon the pun, with feeling.

Just another day in the classroom? Not when I’m teaching….

To see more of Beni’s work and to purchase prints, go to www.timelessjewishart.com Follow Beni’s latest work on his facebook page.

Beni Rubinstein, a joint founder of the dusty lens cap, was one of the UK’s top Jewish Wedding Photographers for most of his career. After returning to Jerusalem he continues to photograph weddings but whenever he has the time, wanders the streets of Jerusalem looking to actualise the pictures and images dreamed up in his mind. A pro photographer in everything from 35mm to large format film,  he was an early adopter of digital and became an expert in digital photographic technique and processing. His work has been exhibited in the UK, Israel and the US. A book is also being planned for the coming year.

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2 responses

  1. where was the fill on ahrons picture?

    October 24, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    • Camera left and low shooting into the glass to both provide a drop of fill and also to add sparkle to the water drops.

      November 17, 2012 at 6:52 pm

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