Tag Archives: urban

Tel Aviv’s Azrieli Centre

I mentioned in recent post that when in Tel Aviv I found myself drawn to two places in particular; the beach and the Azrieli Centre. I’ve written about the beach so today I just wanted to share a couple of pictures from the latter.

The Azrieli Centre, the third tower of which was completed in 2007, stands out for a couple of reasons. The first, and most obvious, is the size. At 187m, 169m and 154m respectively the towers are a fair bit taller than the few surrounding skyscrapers and significantly taller than the majority of buildings in the area. Secondly there are three of them in a tight cluster, each with a different geometric footprint: One square, one circular and one triangular. Collectively the towers serve a number of purposes, commercial office space, a hotel, Tel Aviv’s largest shopping centre and an observation deck meaning that they see constant human activity – which is rather the point of architecture. The third is that they are rather elegantly lit at night – no fancy multi-coloured affair, no patterns and definitely no flashing lights.

Here are my favourite images from my short time with the Azrieli Centre. I hope you like them.

And yes, it is technically the Azrieli Center, but I simply cannot defer to American spelling.

Azrieli Centre


Azrieli Centre


Azrieli Centre


Posted in Architecture Also tagged , , |

Finding Tel Aviv’s Heart.

Well, after the hassle of industrial action at Ben Gurion airport meant that I was delayed arriving in the UK by six hours, subsequently missing the last train home and thus flying out on my all-expenses-paid weekend trip to Barcelona, I have begun the process of recharging my batteries and adjusting to normal life.

The trip saw me first spend a week in Tel Aviv, then off to Jerusalem for a week. I also spent some time in Palestine. Whenever I could I was out with my camera. The weather was unyieldingly hot which, whilst many people’s ideal, was far from mine. It may be my Scottish blood but I much prefer the cold. I found myself struggling to concentrate on my creative side – a process difficult at the best of times.

In Tel Aviv I had the added restriction that I was there on a company funded training course and so, as eager as I was to be out and about, that had to take priority. As my old boss once said to a friend and colleague of mine: “Work life pays for home life”. Yes, with the course finishing at 6-6:30PM and sunset at approximately 8PM, photography in Tel Aviv was a fast and furious affair. Whilst nothing focusses the mind like the tick-tock of a clock, there was still the practicalities of getting from A to B to consider.

As a city, and this is in no way a criticism, Tel Aviv is pretty much the same as many other coastal Mediterranean cities, which makes photography both easy and complex. Easy in that the same type of shots that work in one city will work in another – cookie-cutter photographs; complex in that it is difficult to take a photograph that is different. As my photography has matured, I have long since stopped taking photographs that (1) are the standard tourist fare and (2) similar to photographs that someone else has taken, unless I believe I can do it better.

I’m fascinated by street art (or graffiti if you prefer) and Israel has a thriving street art scene. I’m going to write a separate piece on street art in Israel, but as I arrived in Tel Aviv, my primary objective was to shoot the street art. The other objectives were more vague – having just returned from Iceland and work consuming my evenings and weekends meant little time for researching the trip to Israel. But, in the end I became fascinated by two locations in Tel Aviv.

The first was the Azrieli Centre; a complex of three skyscrapers whose geometric simplicity is quite striking. More on this is a separate post.

The second was the beach. The last time I was on a beach (a few weeks ago) it was in Iceland at the top of the North Atlantic with ice cold water and a biting wind. This was an altogether different experience with a warm, yet cooling breeze and the much more temperature waters of the Mediterranean. My immediate feeling when I saw the beach was the it felt like everyone was there; the young, the old, the in between. joggers, volleyball players, surfers, people lounging in bars, people sitting on the golden sands, people still dressed in office clothes. Name a demographic and it was probably on the beach somewhere. To me the beach was the heart of Tel Aviv, right on the edge where land had run out.

As the beach is generally west facing, the sun set over the sea, making for the classic tourist shot of the sun hitting the horizon. As this kind of shot is a bit of a tourist cliché, it was not one that I was interested in and, to be perfectly honest, I don’t think I could take a very good one anyway. But a west-facing beach did mean one thing – a chance to do something creative with silhouettes. I like silhouette photography. A silhouette in a photograph can hide the fine detail that humans automatically look for upon seeing another human such as eyes, mouth, skin colour and symmetry. A silhouette becomes everyone. It becomes you.


Taking photographs of people can be a great way to break the ice. 1/750 sec, f/11 ISO 100

Taking photographs of people can be a great way to break the ice.
1/750 sec, f/11 ISO 100

So I found a suitable spot, set up camera and waited. The problem was, as mentioned, the beach is so popular and finding an uncluttered shot was an exercise in patience. In the end it took about an hour and 40 or shot shots to get one I liked, but when it happened I immediately knew that it represented how I saw Tel Aviv; young, healthy and enjoying life.

Of course, people become curious when  you set up a camera and, unlike a regular tourist, don’t move on after a couple of minutes. Over the course of the hour I got talking to a number of people, including a wonderful older guy and the couple above.

So, yes Tel Aviv in many ways is no different from other coastal Mediterranean cities I have been to, but the relationship that the inhabitants of Tel Aviv have with their beach does appear more intimate, perhaps even symbiotic. After all, what good is a beach without footprints in the sand?


Posted in Destinations Also tagged , , , |

Schlesisches Tor Station


Well, the plans to book flights by the end of the weekend have fallen through, but still I think I’ve actually picked a date to leave. Still umm-ing and arr-ing about whether to go to both Cambodia and Vietnam, or just Cambodia. In the meantime I thought I’d post an image from my urban gallery. I’m not quite sure why I like this one, but I think it is because it could be from any city in any country and it is only the writing that gives us a clue as to its origins. It’s the fact that it feels gritty, that it’s a little mundane that I like. Like everyone else, I like to photograph the exotic sights of far off places, but, for me at least, urban photography means photography away from the such tourist areas, in districts where the locals live, play and work. And irrespective of country or continent, such districts all look remarkable similar. A great testament to the fact that, across the World, we all all pretty much the same.

On the technical side, this was meant to be a blue-hour shot, but I was seriously delayed photographing some metro station and woefully underestimated the time to get to here from there. So blue hour had gone and the night sky was in full force. I wanted the red fire hydrant to dominate the foreground and even although the station is far bigger and brighter, I think I’ve achieved that. I decided on the mono conversion as without the deep azure of the sky the upper part of the frame lacked any interest and the red and white car lights, the traffic lights and warm lighting from the station all competed for attention. Too messy. Simpler to de-complicate the image by removing the colour and relying on the light and dark to tell the story. I’d be interested in what you think…

Posted in Frame by Frame Also tagged , , |
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