Final Exhibition

I am thinking about the final exhibition and I have chosen these images as representation of my journey through holy land. I would like to choose various images to reflect different stages of my journey in order to create the whole picture of my spiritual transformation. The point of my journey to Israel was to find myself and to get spiritual strength from the aura of Israel and Palestine as I have had a tough year. I went to Israel to search for the transformation and I believe that I achieved this. I was also very happy to see proof of what I felt and experienced before in the images at the churches – especially the image of the God’s eye watching over us from the sun. It was also amazing to experience the energy of the Judaean desert and the monasteries where even mobile phones don’t work because of the special aura of these places. In my pictures I tried to express invisible things and I would like to create a story through the combination of my images. On the subject of transformation: I believe that my faith has really grown after I was able to see the places where the life of Jesus took place. Because of the experience I had I would like other people to feel and realise that our lives are in the hands of God and that God is always present, not only in the churches, but on the streets, in the desert – everywhere. It was also amazing to see different sides of life in the monasteries inhibited not only by people but also by cats and dogs. It was particularly amazing for me that nearly every day I could see a white dove appearing from nowhere and I managed to photograph him above Jordan river, near the monastery, next to a soldier. Dove is an international image of Peace as well Holy Spirit, so I tried to picture Holy Spirit through my journey.

I have been editing images in order to better express my ideas, but I think at times I made some images, such as the ones of the roads and the desert, look too saturated, so I kept changing and adjusting them before printing them for the final exhibition.

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Transformation: Life at a Monastery

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While visiting various churches and monasteries I was fascinated by the life that happens there, I am talking not only about people but also about animals and birds. By St. Sabba’s Monastery I saw an interesting interaction between a dove and a black cat. It seemed as if holy spirit as dove and devil as cat were both presented there and had an invisible fight for a human soul, it is reflected on this picture where my friend Luba reads some prayers while the cat and dove are waiting nearby.

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And you can also see some ray of sun from above that also reflects God’s presence in the picture. I had to lighten the shadows in this picture in order to make the cat more visible.

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On this picture you can see a direct confrontation of the dove and cat as if the confrontation of God and evil. My priest told me a long time ago that in churches devil is present more obviously than in other places as God is present there. I believe that I managed to take quite a symbolic picture.

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The picture above shows multiple caves in the mountain, this is where the monks used to live. This picture is really important for me as it shows the strength of their belief. This is the place where the Judgement Day will take place, where the Throne of Jesus will be placed. To me the images of these mountains, rocks and desert are as powerful as images of the churches and monasteries in their sense of presence of God.

Transformation: Jordan

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During my trip to Israel I went to the river Jordan where Jesus Christ was baptised by John the Baptist. It is an amazing place for each Christian and it is an especial blessing to have a dip in the water just like Jesus did. For this occasion you need to wear a special robe which you keep for life and usually people are buried in it. It is considered to be as second Baptism for the person and symbolises spiritual transformation in the name of Jesus. I included my own photo in the river Jordan in order to show how happy and transformed I looked. In such places you could hardly believe that you are actually there, but the whole thing is about believe, so this is the wrong word for this. You felt absolutely blessed to be there and to experience what many people only wish to be able to experience.

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While bathing in the river I noticed a dove above it, I felt that it was a special sign of holy spirit being present. You can see the dove in the picture below. I edited this photo by adding saturation and contrast as well as clarity to it.

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These pictures I took by the river Jordan fascinated me by the patterns palm trees’ shadows on the ground created. Gursky used a lot of patterns in his photos and I wanted to try to explore natural patterns in my photos. The last photo in this block I took by river Jordan as well, it shows an Orthodox church in the distance which reflects the meaning of this holy place for believers. I left that photo almost unedited, just added a bit of contrast to it. I took all the photos with 6D Canon camera and 24-105 lenses.

Transformation: The Holy Light

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I took these images when I dropped my 6D camera on the marble floor at St. George’s church in Jerusalem. I thought that it was smashed, but in fact the only filter was smashed and I took these photos with the shards still present as I couldn’t take them out.

I have been photographing various churches at the Holy Land. In this post I combined the most iconic places such as Gethsemane Church, The Church of Holy Sepulchre and St. George’s Church in Jerusalem and The Nativity Church in Bethlehem. Through photographing the light I wanted to demonstrate the presence of the divine.

Mount of Temptation

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I took these images at the Mount of Temptation where Jesus was tempted by the devil. This place is absolutely iconic for all Christian people and I was very happy to be there. Before going up to the mount I saw a camel and couldn’t resist the temptation to take his photo. I quite like the combination of yawing camel with the Mount of Temptation at the background as this picture has a slight sense as if the animal is shouting in pain which adds some sense of suffering to the whole image.

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In this photo you can see the monastery built on the mountain in the distance. I took a few more pictures focusing particularly on the monastery. I edited the images adding contrast to them and reducing brightness slightly.

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After that I went up the mountain and took some photos of this holy area on the way, partly from a mini-bus. My favourite photo in these series is this as it shows stubborn life  – a plant growing on a bare rock. To me it has a sense of survival – Jesus survived for 40 days fasting in the desert, which is an impossible task, and this little plant keeps growing which also seems to be an impossible, miraculous thing.

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Transformation: White Sun of Bethlehem

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I took this picture on the way out from the Nativity Church in Bethlehem. I really like the effect from the Sun in it which reminds of a crucified person or of an angel flying up to the sky. Being at the holy land I was looking for the presence of the divine not only in the churches but also in everyday light. After taking this photo I went back to the hotel and tried to photograph the presence of God through the images of the sun. I had an experience nine years ago when I had a psychotic episode and I thought that God was talking to me through the sun. I wanted to reflect this intense experience in my images. Previously I tried to use this experience as my inspiration while creating and installation “I See Angels” while doing Foundation Diploma in Art in Design.

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The images above show the sun shining through the streets of Bethlehem. I wanted to show how the divine affects our everyday life. We can see dirty cars, shops, people rushing to do shopping, but the rays of sun remind us of the presence of God.

The last image is the sun above the Nativity Church, the place where Jesus Christ was born. I don’t think that the quality of this image is great, but it is meaningful for me because of the place it was taken.

 

Roads of Palestine

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I was travelling a lot along Palestine and Israel in order to visit as many holy places as possible. I have been constantly photographing and here I present a selection of images taken from a bus window and at the stops. The images through the glass window were generally more blueish and I had to adjust the colour in Photoshop afterwards. I also had to put quite high shutter speed, up to 500 as sometimes we were travelling at a ver high speed.