Photographs and words by Cihan Bacak – @cihanbacak
I bought my new camera earlier this summer, just 48 hours before boarding a plane to Israel. The lens was as impressive as the Tel Aviv temperature and I was itching to document the light and life of a country I had read so much about. I had a week in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and Bethlehem and Jericho, and although I lost a few kilos in my attempt to capture this series under the Middle Eastern sun, I cannot wait to go back.
Coming from Istanbul (a huge city with 17 millions inhabitants) Tel Aviv was like a breath of fresh air. I loved the fact that people de-layered right after work and walked straight to the beach. You don’t even need loud music or alcohol to party in the city; a late-night bike ride by the beach in Old Jaffa was heavenly enough. The fact that I hailed from Istanbul roused Israeli interest and I, in return, couldn’t help but feel jealous – everything just seemed so effortless, chic and laid-back here, in both modern Tel Aviv and the Old City. Perhaps that has something to do with the allure of foreign shores …
Later I spent time in the desert by the Jordan border and the light here was something else. Although I strive to see new places each time I travel, the urge to return to this place continues to grow. In that desert vastness I found a different kind of tranquility that shocked me. I never felt like an outsider in Israel, nor did it feel like my first or last time in the Holy Land. All I know is that there is much, much more to capture.