Monday, January 16, 2006

Julian has posted his photos

Julian has posted his photos of the trip. See if you can spot any of us

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Sophs' reflections #1

My style is very different to everyone elses, and it's copied from my blog, but as I am enjoying writing the reflections I'll post them here as well....


“In his darkroom he is finally alone
with spools of suffering set out in ordered rows.
The only light is red and softly glows,
as though this were a church and he
a priest preparing to intone a Mass.
Belfast. Beirut. Phnom Penh. All flesh is grass.”

For the time I have been home, lines from a poem have kept running through my brain. Invading my thoughts, my dreams. Half forgotten lines keep summing up my feelings, as I remember sitting in a classroom several years and a million miles away, flicking through a GCSE text book and reading “War Photographer” by Carol Ann Duffy. For as long as I can remember I have yearned to travel to the broken places, to see people and to tell their stories. From an early age I would see images of a warzone on television and want to go there. For me, the poem War Photographer summed up those desires.

I was not really photographing a war, none of my photos are shocking images of suffering, but images of resiliance, of life despite the unofficial war happening around them. And I look at those images, at the children who asked me to take their photo, and remember the conversations, the words of welcome from strangers, in English and in Arabic. And I remember the pain I felt as I saw them living their lives, whist all this hate was going on around them.

“Rural England. Home again
to ordinary pain which simple weather can dispel”

And I am home again, and everything I thought was important has shifted somewhat, it is still important, but somehow telling the stories that run through my mind is more important. But it is also a near impossible task. There are so many memories, so many people I met, so many images I carry in my minds eye that I cannot express them all, and as such find it hard to tell any.

“Something is happening. A stranger's features
faintly start to twist before his eyes,
a half-formed ghost.”

Most of the pictures I took in Palestine were of the people, mostly of soldiers and children, Israeli soldiers, Palestinian children. And behind each picture is a story, a picture may be worth a thousand words, but sometimes a thousand words is needed to show the truth behind a picture

“From the aeroplane he stares impassively at where
he earns a living and they do not care.”

From the aeroplane I looked down across the darkening sky and saw the world from a new hight, I couldn't see the borders, the tanks, the bombs, the wars. But they were there, I could remember them. And I wanted people to care. And I’d like to tell my stories, but only if you'd like to listen.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Jem's blogged reflections on the trip

You can find my blogged thoughts on the trip at


Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Via Dolorosa

Originally uploaded by Suevisions.
The Via Dolorosa is the ultimate alternative worship experience really! A series of stations of the cross, around the city of Jerusalem, following as closely to the route that Jesus took as is possible considering that the streets have been redesigned since Roman times. One of the things I loved about them, was that there was a series of chapels along the way, but they were all different styles and run by different churches. Sometimes it almost became like a treasure hunt, as we lost one or two of the smaller stations along the way. Then finally we came to Holy Sepulchure (or the "Church of the Resurrection" as the Orthodox call it) the site of the Crucifixion, the stone where Jesus' body was washed as he was taken down, and the tomb. It was an amazing, poignant, exotic, spiritual place, and I loved it.

Bedouin tents

Originally uploaded by Suevisions.
This is where we spent one night in the desert with the Bedouin at Wadi Rum. The desert was incredibly beautiful, with red/gold sand, and the Bedouin music and dancing was exotic and fun, but it was also very cold that night! I must admit I was glad that we only had to do it for one night, but I wouldn't have missed that night for the world.

Convent in Bethany

Originally uploaded by Suevisions.
This is the beautiful convent in Bethany, surrounded by olive groves, that is being threatened with demolition because it is in the way of the wall. But the case is ging through the courts, I don't know the result yet, (or even really how to find it out) but hopefully this place will be saved.

The Wall

Originally uploaded by Suevisions.
Here is the separation wall, with the town of Ramallah just behind it. We went to Ramallah one evening for dinner. It is a sad place, because of the difficulties caused by the wall and the checkpoints, but also it is an incredibly welcoming place. I have never had so many people say "welcome" to me before as I walked down the street. I felt like royalty!

Visions trip to the Holy Land

Originally uploaded by Suevisions.
A group of 11 of us went to the Holy Land over the Christmas period (from Boxing day to the 7th January).We visited Jerusalem, Galilee, the dead sea, and then went over to Jordan for a bit, seeing Petra and Jerash (one of the "ten towns" and the river Jordan, before returning to Bethlehem just in time to experience Orthodox Christmas day before returning to York. It was an amazing experience and we took an enormous amount of photos between us. (hundreds every day). Yet it was also a poignant experience as we saw a lot of suffering around us and heard some very sad stories told to us by the Christians who live in the area.