Desert hiking and photography came into my life hand in hand. Hiking in the sense of walking from morning till evening and better yet for several days. The Israeli desert still has places where one can create total disconnection from the civilized world, escape to total solitude, recharge the energies for the regular life of our modern society.
The open view of barren landscapes changes around us continuously. The geology and the history of the places walks with us in our thoughts, in our conversations. We put one foot in front of the other. The thoughts only think of the feet that move, not to get tangled up in a moving rock, stop for a break, eat, and walk again. In the morning it’s hard to think about the long day but as soon as the body warms up, the physical activity and the rhythm of the walk creates tranquility that can be achieved nowhere else.
Life is simplified, your mind is allowed to wander, unnecessary thoughts soon leave, you meet the real you. During my very first hike I felt a cathartic moment, something opened up in me. For my second hike I arrived with a newly bought DSLR camera and have been photographing the desert since then.
The black and white desert series showcases Israeli desert landscapes, not necessarily the most dramatic views, it focuses on recreating the feeling of tranquility, open landscapes, simplified world, what these hikes mean to me. They are memories of a total break.
When editing these photos, I do not use any special effects, but I focus on transferring this feeling, rather than creating a realistic representation of the landscape. All the photos were taken in either Negev Desert or the Judean Desert. I do not feel the locations should be specified as the series is not about the specific places, rather about feelings and impressions that these landscapes create.
Gabi Berger is a Tel Aviv based photographer, specializing in travel portraits. She’s a founder of travel photography service site My Israeli Memories.