Instagram photographers from across US, Europe show Peres images featuring Jerusalem, Tel Aviv.
Looking like a stand-up advertisement for Apple Inc., 10 Instagram photographers from across America and Europe stood in a row against one of the walls in the President’s Residence on Wednesday holding out iPad tablet computers that featured images of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
The photographers are part of a StandwithUs, Once in a Lifetime advocacy project for Israel, bringing together Jewish and non-Jewish photographers who use the smartphone application, whose compositions will do more to enhance Israel’s image than any number of texts of a thousand words.
President Shimon Peres walked along the row, asked each his or her name and what had prompted them to photograph the specific subjects that they were displaying.
He was particularly taken with a photograph of the Western Wall in which there was a large expanse of pale stone wall and plaza, with a sole worshiper in black haredi garb, and a chubby little blonde girl in a brightly colored dress sitting on the ground beside him, with part of her body hidden behind his trouser leg.
Peres looked at the photo taken by Eeelco Roos of the Netherlands, and took the iPad in his hand to examine it more closely. Roos was thrilled with the president’s reaction.
Peres found something positive to say about each of the photographs. He was curious about some taken on the Tel Aviv beachfront and wanted to know exactly which part of the beach. The final photograph was an amazing cityscape over the water shot by Joey Mena of San Francisco, who had noticed the scene reflected in a window and had actually photographed the window.
Peres entered into a discussion with him as well, and was fascinated by the clarity, despite the fact that it was a photograph of a reflection. Peres later acceded to Mena’s request that they all photograph him in the garden, especially after Mena told him, “We’ve fallen in love with this country.”
In the garden, Peres took them on a tour of the trees and the antiquities. He pointed out the olive tree that Pope Benedict XVI planted as well as his own favorite tree, a hybrid of a fig and an olive that produces edible fruit.
The president turned the tables on his guests toward the end of their visit when he photographed them.
Before going out into the garden, Peres said that photography was not only an art form but an education, because people did not see themselves as others saw them. “When someone sees himself in a photo and sees something wrong, he tries to improve himself,” he said, adding that photographers knew how to capture the most sensitive points.
Then getting to the reason for their visit, he told the young Instagrammers that Israel was very photogenic. “It’s a drama more than a country. It’s a country that engages in everything on every possible human aspect.
“And Israelis like to see how they look.”
He invited his guests to stay in Israel, telling them: “You’ll always find another angle, another composition.”