Tel Aviv photo shop freezes a changing Israel in its frames

This article was first published in The Times of Israel.

Nurit Wahl (photo credit: Rudi Weissenstein/Courtesy of Ian Sternthal)

Nurit Wahl (photo credit: Rudi Weissenstein/Courtesy of Ian Sternthal)

In 2006 Ian Sternthal wandered into the legendary Pri-Or Photo House on Tel Aviv’s Allenby Street and never really left. Although he has come and gone on visits to Israel from his Montreal home, he has been unable to get the thousands of portraits taken by the studio’s co-founder, famed photographer Rudi Weissenstein (1910-1992), out of his head.

Sternthal, owner of Sternthal Books, an art group and publishing company, decided to curate and produce a coffee-table book of some of the portraits. He plans to also create an e-book with digital footage, as well as a traveling exhibition. The project, which he has named “Zalmania” (Hebrew for photo house), is moving ahead following a successful Kickstarter campaign.

“I came across the zalmania when I was doing research on old photos of Tel Aviv for a project on Zionism I was doing,” Sternthal, 33, tells The Times of Israel. “People are always interested in Rudi’s folkloric, scenic and event photographs of Israel’s early years  but I was captivated by his studio portraits.”

Click here to read more, view some of the portraits, and watch a video.

© 2014 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

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