By Olga Lavi
Ron Shoshani is a professional photographer whose photographs appear regularly in the Israeli magazine Time Out Israel. Within a few minutes after the appearance of a new photograph, hundreds of “Likes” are recorded on Facebook.
The secret of his popularity is that Ron Shoshani does what no one did before him.
Ron grew up in a family where a lot of attention was paid to design. This contributed to the development of his interest in photography, especially in the tourist genre. At some point Ron noticed that there is a big difference between the way cities like New York, London and San Francisco are presented in glossy international magazines and the images representing Tel Aviv.
“It was really sad. On the one hand are glossy pictures of cities which, believe me, I have seen in reality and at close range, and they do not look as fantastic as in the magazines. But the sell is successful – tourists come from all over the world.
“And what about Israel? How do we look in the eyes of the world? Again and again, there are images of a market with oranges spilling all over, a couple of Hasidim with sidecurls, people with bronze skin on the beach, a soldier with a gun, the Wailing Wall – and that’s it. What, we have nothing more to show?
“Nowadays every self-respecting city is interested in tourism and has a portfolio of photos showing its potential and the beauty of its landscapes. Tel Aviv has as much to offer as those other cities, I’m absolutely sure.
“Current trends in photography can turn any place into “eye candy”, wrapped in brightly colored wrappers, and, in the case of Tel Aviv, underlining the dynamism and urban energy, the special magic for which the city is famous. And, most importantly, these photos create an irresistible desire to see the city and the country with one’s own eyes. To see the living miracle, to communicate with the city directly, not vicariously or virtually.
“I realized that my city deserves such a portfolio, deserves it as a modern developing city, endlessly interesting for tourists. A city of business and entertainment, the sea and nightlife, wonderful parks, fascinating museums, and diverse architecture.
“So I decided to make Tel Aviv high-gloss, worthy of attention and inspiring the urge to drop everything and come to know it personally. My motivation was particularly influenced by the publication of a ten-year city development plan, which involves dramatic changes in the shape of Tel Aviv. Therefore, the urgent need to capture the moment, the beauty of the city in which we live, here and now, before it grows into a small Bangkok, to capture it from above, unchanged, nostalgic and familial. ”
Shoshani began his project about two years ago, and it continues to gain momentum. It’s a process of revealing Tel Aviv’s landscape, its contours, in aspects very different from traditional notions of Tel Aviv, like the difference between walking along the street with your head down, or watching the city from the window of an airplane during takeoff or landing. Shoshani gives us a brief glimpse of the city from another dimension. He’s taking his time in photographing the Israeli metropolis: he not only wants to show a portrait of a modern city, but he also finds amazing camera angles, and the usual, familiar Tel Aviv buildings often look completely unrecognizable.
Shoshani has ambitious plans – he’s going to come back to the same places in ten or fifteen years to capture changes in the shape of the city. Dynamics of development are important to him; he captures them with his photographic eye, every shot conveying love and respect for Tel Aviv, intimate and very personal.
It’s hard to believe, but the richly colorful images do not go through much post-shooting treatment. “I’m doing an easy color correction, and the whole process is barely ten minutes per image,” says the author.
His special secret is dramatic lighting and natural phenomena, going to shoot very early in the morning or in the midst of a storm, returning time and again to the same point to capture his ideal image.
“I love my city. And I want to show it to those who have never been here, as well as to those who have lived here for years and have not seen all its matchless beauty. Once a girl from Thailand wrote me that, after viewing my pictures, she decided to come to Tel Aviv and see it with her own eyes. And what do you think? She arrived with her friends and they asked me to be their guide through the places they loved in my images… It was very touching, and in fact, this is the best affirmation of what I’m doing. ”