herbs, carmel market

By: cat

Jan 15 2009

Category: Israel


This is at the very edge of the Shuk Ha-Carmel (Carmel Market), a large, busy, and very Eastern-style market where smart haggling is practically the law. I wanted to take a photo of these herbs because they were so green and inviting. You can see the stall owner in the picture. I wasn’t specifically taking a picture of him – but he happened to turn around. And he was really upset. He started yelling at me, lo l’tzelem, yallah*, yallah! (No photos, move it, get lost!). 

* Yallah is an Arabic word (یالا), but it’s used extensively in slang Hebrew (יאללה). It means “go, let’s go, come on, move, hurry up, get a move on, move it” and apparently is what you say to a camel. In Israeli Hebrew, it’s used as a standard way of ending a phone conversation – in the phrase yallah bye (יאללה ביי) – “bye” of course being English. 

Also: I’ve had mixed reactions when I’ve asked to take people’s pictures – from delight, indifference, reluctant acceptance, to indignant refusal and arguing. I was wondering. If you take pictures of people, how do you do it? I asked an Israeli Flickr contact of mine who takes superb pictures of people on the streets, and he sent me this link to explain. I don’t think I could ever do this – and if someone pushed a camera in my face, I would be very annoyed.


17 comments on “herbs, carmel market”

  1. I like the colors and the way this photo looks like it was taken at great speed and yet at the same time with great care and attention.
    This issue is really interesting — and thanks for the link to the video. It’s the reason why I *never* do street photography. It feels intrusive to me as the photographer (let alone being the subject!) and I don’t think I can take good photos if I’m not feeling very comfortable about it. I don’t know. I admire street photography a great deal and especially the courage it takes, but I could never do it. I’m interested to hear what others with experience have to say.

  2. Yella is used by everyone here. it’s just lots of folks hate having their pics taken . i was taking pics in the market last week and got an earfull myself . no worries, it’s just the way we are as a people.

    and yes it is a great pic.

  3. I’m with you. I find it incredibly hard to take pictures of strangers on the street. Am impressed that you have the courage to actually ask some of these people in their stores if they’ll allow you to point your camera at them. Love the green colors in this. Looks like a wonderful herb shop.

  4. Through your lens, Tel-Aviv get a very nostalgic/romantic view. I envy you that you are able to show that side of TA.
    By the way, there is another great(?) way of taking photos of people on the street – just use – The Super Secret Spy Lens – http://photojojo.com/store/awesomeness/candid-photography-spy-lens/

  5. A worthy addition to your series Cat! Terrific complexity and detail all of which are visually engaging. You went from the gregarious to the shy to the turning away – a nice sequence to have. I know it is not pleasant to be yelled at – I’ve been accosted in a mall by security guards etc. and it is disturbing – but the good experiences balance all the rotten ones. Have to thank you for posting that video – that is the NY that I love and that guy is pure NY. His photos are gorgeous but the flash in the face is a bit much even for me. Who knows if one did it every day one’s tolerance might increase and what seems outlandish now becomes part of one’s repertoire later. Sometimes I wonder what people are protecting by not wanting their photo to be taken? It is a bit silly if one considers what life is and one’s place among the billions of humans. We are here for a short little bit and for someone to make a photo of us in that little blip of time seems like such a small, small thing.

  6. Nice picture of an unusual shop. A pity the person is showing his back !

  7. When I did a lot of street photography, my style couldn’t differ more than Gilden’s. I think if you get that close to a person and shoot a photo, that’s fine. But blasting them with flash definitely isn’t.

    I was a lot more stealthy. I’d stand in the middle of the sidewalk with my other eye appearing to be focused on something way back behind my subject. I could get pretty close that way and it wasn’t invasive. He probably gets a lot more keepers.

    Another thing, in NYC the culture’s just a lot different. People don’t give a damn about what others do.

  8. I ask with my body language and eyes.

    If they reply ‘No’ then I walk away.

  9. Interesting question you raise !
    I don’t take very many pictures of people but when I do, I usually simply ask permission most often verbally or by clearly showing my camera and smiling. It works very well !
    However, this technique is far from ideal because I miss a lot of candid shots.
    On the other hand, I feel a bit uncomfortable if I “steal” a shot from someone.

  10. It a wonderful shot. I think Women have a easier time of doing street shots of people. There is a stigma with a Man and a camera of maybe being a pervert of some kind so I rarely take shots of people on the streets. I always feel like I’m being watched and I’m too shy and don’t like bringing attention to myself. I know most of the time people are just looking to see what I’m taking a photo of and I have had people come behind me and take the same shot.

  11. I’m sorry you got yelled at, but the descriptive opportunity this shot has given you was worth it if you ask me. I see why the deep greens caught your eye. As to your question… I seldom take pictures of people except at large public events. The people here are way too paranoid and confrontational. But when I do, I either raise the camera high while stretching as high as I can to shot a wide focal length above the crowd, or I keep the camera away from my face and aim it in the general location of people and shoot unnoticed. People seem to think you aren’t really taking a picture if you aren’t actually looking through the lens. It leads to some, just a few, creative shots. I like the results the photographer on the video was getting, but if I did that here… I’d be dead the first day :)

  12. i’m with you on the scared front; my project in 2009 is to learn to approach people!

    fine shot, btw

  13. i’m surprised this guy had such an intense reaction. it seems to me he’s somewhat of public figure there with his shop. i think the shot works well – a good addition to this series.
    i could never do what the guy in the video link does, and wouldn’t want to anyway. but, i must say, i liked the results.

  14. Thanks for your comments and for your viewpoints on this – it’s interesting to see how others deal with taking people’s pictures and how it works in other cultures, too.

    I was once in a local restaurant with my partner and a woman came up to us and said shyly that she hoped we didn’t mind but she’d taken our picture because we looked cute. I thought it was hilarious :)

    For those who are shy about asking people – I think if you ask politely most people will respond politely even if they say they don’t want their picture taken. Sometimes, however, you will get shouted at :)

  15. i like your “on the move picture”. on the other hand i don’t agree with the explanation “is the way these people are”. you have to understand their culture and the fact that they have lots of reasons not to be friendly with strangers. what? you didn’t find unkind and rude people in european countries or in the united states? let’s be serious. it has nothing to do with nationality.
    my photo technique when posing people? i graduated journalism and i learn that the simple way is just to ask permission, when possible. that means even a shake of their head. you have sufficient time to take a photo until they change their mind. and when i feel that they wouldn’t agree, i just go and get it with all cost. if i really think it worth it. one time i almost get caught by a beggar who i was trying to pose. you don’t image how angry he was :).

  16. romine – thanks for your comment :)
    I imagine you’re not referring to my explanation, because I certainly don’t think “it’s the way those people are”. There is no such thing as “those people” in the sense of “typical” group behaviour – not in Tel Aviv, not anywhere.
    However, there are local cultures which are worth knowing and respecting – for example, if I go to the ultra-Orthodox neighbourhood of Mea Sharim, especially dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, I’ll be offending them whether I agree with it or not. Or if I go to a rough neighbourhood in Jaffa, I will have to behave differently than in a touristy area. And so should anyone :)
    I agree that asking permission is the way to go. If they say “no”, I will respect that, as at the end of the day I am doing this for myself, I’m not a journo.

  17. in France, they are not so “rude”.. they juste say,when they don’t want photograph: “please “no”, or “no photo”.. rarely agressivity

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