The Silence of Photographer Ariel Schalit
The Silence of Photographer Ariel Schalit
Salam, 5, an African lion, stands on the branches of a tree at the Ramt Gan safari near Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013. Tree-climbing lions are relatively uncommon and are best known for their populations in Uganda's Queen Elizabeth National Park and Tanzania's Lake Manyara national Park. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Salam, 5, an African lion, stands on the branches of a tree at the Ramt Gan safari near Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013. Tree-climbing lions are relatively uncommon and are best known for their populations in Uganda's Queen Elizabeth National Park and Tanzania's Lake Manyara national Park. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

A horse runs in a pasture next to an old Israeli tank in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights on the border with Syria, Friday, March 8, 2013. Israel captured the Golan from Syria in 1967 Mideast war. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

A horse runs in a pasture next to an old Israeli tank in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights on the border with Syria, Friday, March 8, 2013. Israel captured the Golan from Syria in 1967 Mideast war. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Children climb at a playground next to the Mediterranean Sea during the first day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday as the sun sets in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, July 17, 2015. The three-day holiday marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Children climb at a playground next to the Mediterranean Sea during the first day of the Eid al-Fitr holiday as the sun sets in Tel Aviv, Israel, Friday, July 17, 2015. The three-day holiday marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

A man exercises moments before swimming in the Mediterranean sea in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

A man exercises moments before swimming in the Mediterranean sea in Tel Aviv, Israel, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Locusts lands on a sand dune in Negev Desert, southern Israel, near the border with Egypt, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. A swarm of locusts crossed into Israel from neighboring Egypt Monday, raising fears that Israel could be hit with a biblical plague ahead of the Passover holiday. Israel sent out planes to spray pesticides over agricultural fields to prevent damage by the small swarm, which numbers about 2,000 locusts, said Dafna Yurista, a spokeswoman for the Agriculture Ministry. The ministry also set up an emergency hotline and asked Israelis to be vigilant in reporting locust sightings. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Locusts lands on a sand dune in Negev Desert, southern Israel, near the border with Egypt, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. A swarm of locusts crossed into Israel from neighboring Egypt Monday, raising fears that Israel could be hit with a biblical plague ahead of the Passover holiday. Israel sent out planes to spray pesticides over agricultural fields to prevent damage by the small swarm, which numbers about 2,000 locusts, said Dafna Yurista, a spokeswoman for the Agriculture Ministry. The ministry also set up an emergency hotline and asked Israelis to be vigilant in reporting locust sightings. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

A doll covered with mud lies on the floor after a flood hit the village of Bat Hefer, central Israel, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. About 200 homes were flooded and tens of cars were damaged by the flood. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

A doll covered with mud lies on the floor after a flood hit the village of Bat Hefer, central Israel, Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. About 200 homes were flooded and tens of cars were damaged by the flood. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Israeli Air Force planes fly during an acrobatics display during a graduation ceremony in the Hatzerim air force base near the southern city of Beersheba, Israel, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Israeli Air Force planes fly during an acrobatics display during a graduation ceremony in the Hatzerim air force base near the southern city of Beersheba, Israel, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Smoke rises following an Israeli strike in Gaza as seen from the Israel Gaza Border, southern Israel, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. Fierce clashes between Israeli forces and Gaza militants are continuing for the forth day. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Smoke rises following an Israeli strike in Gaza as seen from the Israel Gaza Border, southern Israel, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012. Fierce clashes between Israeli forces and Gaza militants are continuing for the forth day. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Explosion and smoke rise following an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip, seen from the Israel Gaza Border, southern Israel, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Explosion and smoke rise following an Israeli air strike in the northern Gaza Strip, seen from the Israel Gaza Border, southern Israel, Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Ultra-Orthodox Jews of the Hassidic sect Vizhnitz gather on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean sea as they participate in a Tashlich ceremony in Herzeliya, Israel, Monday, Sept. 24, 2012. Tashlich, which means 'to cast away' in Hebrew, is the practice by which Jews go to a large flowing body of water and symbolically 'throw away' their sins by throwing a piece of bread, or similar food, into the water before the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, which start on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Ultra-Orthodox Jews of the Hassidic sect Vizhnitz gather on a hill overlooking the Mediterranean sea as they participate in a Tashlich ceremony in Herzeliya, Israel, Monday, Sept. 24, 2012. Tashlich, which means 'to cast away' in Hebrew, is the practice by which Jews go to a large flowing body of water and symbolically 'throw away' their sins by throwing a piece of bread, or similar food, into the water before the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, which start on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

A woman visits the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem's Old City, Sunday, April 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

A woman visits the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem's Old City, Sunday, April 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Israeli settler youths ride on a donkey with an Israeli flag as they join a protest march against Palestinian statehood, from the West Bank Jewish settlement of Itamar near the Palestinians town of Nablus, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas saying he is determined to seek U.N. recognition this week of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza, and east Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in 1967. Israeli security forces fear the U.N. bid could spark violence in the West Bank. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

Israeli settler youths ride on a donkey with an Israeli flag as they join a protest march against Palestinian statehood, from the West Bank Jewish settlement of Itamar near the Palestinians town of Nablus, Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2011. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas saying he is determined to seek U.N. recognition this week of a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza, and east Jerusalem, areas Israel captured in 1967. Israeli security forces fear the U.N. bid could spark violence in the West Bank. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

A boy runs next to bonfires during Lag Ba'Omer celebrations to commemorate the end of a plague said to have decimated Jews in Roman times, in Bnei Brak, Israel, Saturday, May 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

A boy runs next to bonfires during Lag Ba'Omer celebrations to commemorate the end of a plague said to have decimated Jews in Roman times, in Bnei Brak, Israel, Saturday, May 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

A belly dancer performers during the annual Israeli belly dance competition in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011. Twenty Five women from age 8 to 42 participated in the competition. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

A belly dancer performers during the annual Israeli belly dance competition in Tel Aviv, Israel, Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011. Twenty Five women from age 8 to 42 participated in the competition. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

There’s not much to learn online about photographer Ariel Schalit, apart from his work for the Associated Press since 2003 based in Tel Aviv. Perhaps he’s one of the guys who just lets their work speak for them.

Luckily, his work speaks abundantly.

Israel provides a plethora of material for a photographer. It’s a country of wild beauty, passion, and tradition, yet also a lingering legacy of violence. Despite Shalit’s being based in Tel Aviv, I didn’t pick any picture actually showing the city. Perhaps next time. This time I was attracted by something else.

Actually, in featuring a single photographer, I seldom go for a specific theme, and just try to pick the best of the best. More often that not, however, the result gravitates toward a common idea. Sometimes it may faithfully characterize the photographer, but I suspect it may more likely be just my interpretation of his or hers work. After all, most of photojournalism tends to be far from the pack of shots that end up in April winning the Pulitzers. And so I can only look back at my selection and try to guess what it was that struck me about the photographer.

Here the common thread must have been the silence. All of these pictures posses a silent quality—people and objects expressing meanings and emotions without saying a word—the whole string of mute expressiveness broken by a single explosion, as if breaking from the unseen world of Israel’s life into the grim mainstream headlines of photojournalism. Another bomb exploded, millions of people survived and lived on.

Maybe that’s the reality of Israel—learning to live with a measure of silent fear and bravery inside.

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