It has been exactly a decade since the previous time I’ve been to Eilat, Israel’s southernmost city, and so much has changed, but nothing really did; which is a case I can make for most Israeli cities, even Tel Aviv. However, the city of Eilat seems as if it encapsulates this phenomenon. The changes made in the city, especially in the city center or the tourist center, were mainly cosmetic and seem to have been applied heavy-handedly, or in a rush. Save for some minor differences, Eilat feels to have been left unchanged, frozen, which is quite amusing if you take into account the heat there.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing - on the contrary – I can certainly see the city’s appeal to foreigners and Israelis alike. What’s not to like? Year-round summer weather, great scuba-diving, snorkeling, and water-sports activities, gorgeous scenery with a lot of hiking, trekking and biking options nearby. Also, because of Israel’s small size, you’re never really far away from the rest of the country, yet due to its stuck-in-time, laid-back atmosphere, Eilat feels like a bubble, an upgraded 1980-90s resort town. Perhaps that’s its magic.
Less than a handful of times (to the best of my recollection) - that’s the number of times I’ve visited Eilat. A total of fewer than two weeks combined, spent in a popular resort town which is about three to four-hour drive from my home. It makes me feel strange when comparing it to the number of times I’ve visited other faraway cities and places, or to the total time I’ve spent in many other places around the world. Perhaps that’s just me.
Anyway, most of the times I’ve visited Eilat were while on a job or on duty, only once have I been there on vacation, which is how most people get to Eilat in the first place. Not to make it sound as if I’m complaining - after all, my job takes me to many different places which I wouldn’t necessarily visit in the first place if it wasn’t for my professional capacity. I guess Eilat is one of those places – it’s always there, kind of close-by, but I usually end up getting there only when I need to. There’s also a frequent bonus perk in these commissions – which is when my wife, Natalie gets to join – after all, I do need an assistant/model sometimes, although she likes to see herself more as the director.
So this time I was required to visit Eilat (again, not complaining…). I was commissioned to photograph a visual guide of different cities and regions by Fattal Hotels, Israel’s largest hospitality organization. The company owns and manages 40 hotels throughout Israel, and close to 150 hotels in Europe and signature brands such as U, Leonardo, Herods, Rothschild 22 and NYX.
Below are some more photos from this cross-Israel commission in Eilat and the surrounding area, with more still to come, including the Dead Sea, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Tiberias. If you simply can’t wait, please head over to the commissions page to see more.