Eliyahu Alpern: Photography

Panoramic Photography

Tzfat's Artists Colony developed in the 1950s, when many of Israel's finest artists opened galleries in the center of the Old City. The Tzfat Artist Quarter was, at one time, the "Bohemian" center in Israel, where artists worked and obtained inspiration, and people from throughout Israel journeyed to Tzfat to enjoy the artistic creations and the relaxed atmosphere of Quarter.

Sadly, by the 1980s, the Artists Quarter was fading....the established artists had ceased opening their galleries, and Tzfat was no longer attracting the nation's new generation of creative souls. More and more, non-artistic families began to move into the Artist Quarter homes, and the Committee of the Artists Association questioned whether they would be able to again attract talented artists to Tzfat, as well as bring the visitors and tourists who expected to see top quality art.

As the answer to the Artists Assocation's questions and prayers, artists such as Eliyahu Ben Zev Alpern began arriving to Tzfat and have helped to revive the acclaimed reputation of Tzfat's Artist Quarter. Eliyahu first experienced Tzfat when he came to visit cousins of his who had moved to the mountain-top city. He had been working with panoramic photography creating a virtual tour of Israel -- 360 degree interactive photographs containing an interface and including still images, text about sites, video, audio, links, maps and other media about sites in Israel. The sites are connected with hotspots inside the panos which link to other sites geographically. (There is a demo of this at http://israelvr.net ).

Eliyahu has been developing these panoramic photographs and showing in group shows and Jewish Art fairs. He has developed his style through time and finds inspiration outside his window, these days, in Tzfat. "I photograph what pleases my eye. By this point in my life I "trust" my eye, and I have tried to make photography a part of my life...by that I mean, I try not to go too far out of the way to take pictures. A lot of my successful images are pictures of plants and trees from right outside of my house. I learn a lot from looking at other people's work, in all kinds of media. I also like reportage, a documentary style. I just have a knack for that."

Eliyahu likes to make people feel something through viewing, and looks for subjects in the spiritual world as well as the world of nature. But, he points out, photography isn't just clicking on a meaningful picture. He makes a point of staying on top of the quickly developing photography technology and using advanced photo-editing digital programming to enhance and expand what photography can be.

Panoramic Sukkah

Eliyahu's goal is to have his images make more of an impact on society, specifically on the ecology movement. He is presently working on "Panoramic Sukkah" -- a 360 print that one can hang on the inside wall of a Sukkah (a small booth that Jews build for the holiday of Succot). This Panoramic Sukkah will allow people to step inside a place in Israel when they enter their Sukkah, such as the Western Wall Plaza, the desert, the Golan Heights, etc. He has displayed one in public on several occasions and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Eliyahu's work is available for viewing in his home studio. His work can also be seen on his websites. Eliyahu can be contacted at [email protected].  or check out his site at http://www.golem.ws/