The Quest for the Man on the White Donkey | Photography by Yaakov Israel | PHOTOGRAPHERS | Scoop.it

As per the Orthodox Jewish tradition, the Messiah (the Prophet) will arrive riding on a white donkey.
A few years ago, as I was photographing near the Dead Sea, a Palestinian man rode past me on his white donkey and I took a picture of him. It was after having developed this plate that I realized that I had encountered my “Messiah”; it was this chance encounter which brought me to initiate the body of work that carries the name: The Quest for the Man on the White Donkey.

The American tradition of the great photographic journeys served as a blueprint for the initial phase of my quest, with the definitive difference that in such a small country as Israel the size of the territory in which my hunt was pursued necessarily differed from my predecessors. A condensed experience.

 

What in any other country should have been a photographic journey spanning months of continuous travelling was inevitably reduced because no matter what destination I chose it always brought me back home by midnight at the latest. As I found myself passing through the same places over and over again, the personal identity of my project was revealed to me: I had to let go of the idea of narrating the physical journey itself and concentrate on the intimate, emotional reactions that these places evoked in me; I focused on trying to understand how I was reacting to the occasional encounters with people and scenery, and how those people and the scenery appeared to be revealed or lost at the same time, as if they were part of a scene that was ever changing or not changing at all.