I prefer this place to be your escape from the constant bombardment of political opinion and bad news, so I will not make comment on the present situation of this ancient culture that currently finds itself so fragmented. I simply wish to share an archive collection of achingly beautiful photographs transporting us to a more a peaceful time…
The photographs were taken, if you can believe it, in 1919, by the photographers of a small agency known as the American Colony Photo Department, located in Jerusalem at the dawn of the 20th century. According to the Library of Congress, which has made the photographs available online, the agency was founded in the late 1890s by Elijah Meyers, and headed during its heyday a by Lewis Larsson, whose staff photographers included Erik Lind, Lars Lind, Furman Baldwin, and G. Eric Matson. The library archivists have states that many of the photographs are hand-painted, although I would argue this might also be the handiwork of a method known as photolithography, in which black and white photographic negatives are transferred to color lithographic printing plates or stones, rather than tinted by hand. It could be a combination of both techniques to highlight certain colours. (Please do correct me in the comments if you have any insight).
The photographs were taken in present day Israel and the West Bank. Above, a monk is reads in the Garden of Gethsemane, at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem– a place you can still visit today and find it in a similar state. The photographs of the arched street in the Old City were taken on Via Dolorisa,the Way of Suffering, a circuitous route believed by many to follow the path that Jesus walked, carrying his cross, on the way to his crucifixion. Other scenes include portraits of Arab Jews, Ramallah people, village carpenters, Bedouins, shepherds in the Jordan Valley and ships at the Sea of Galilee…
The foundation rock, its significance connects it to the creation of the world and to the belief that the Prophet Muhammad’s Night Journey to heaven started from the rock at the centre of the structure, inside the Dome of the Rock.
Street of David
A Palestinian woman from Ramallah in embroidered clothing
A shepherd near the Dead Sea.
Sea of Galilee
The market of Jerusalem
Ramallah craftsman spinning wool
Harvesting of barley
View of Jerusalem