Mara Klein grew up with a father who loved photography and travel. Even now, on walks together, the Berlin-based photographer and her father will sometimes spot the same picture-worthy image. Klein applies this practice to her work, which reflects her talent for capturing small, wonder-filled moments of everyday life. For her “Holy Land(s)” series, she traveled to Israel, where she took this photo on an early morning walk through the Negev Desert.—Katie Daniels
In October 2019, I revisited Israel and the places that I’d discovered on my first trip there in 2011. I traveled to the olive groves of northern Israel, gazed at the vastness of the Mediterranean Sea, and wandered in the Negev Desert. There is an energy to these areas that speaks to a different concept of time. In recent years, I’ve traveled to quite a few deserts and have noticed that time feels very different there. I am conscious of the changing landscape and the cycles of life and death taking place there. I am able to zoom out of my own orbit and touch upon something much older, much more universal.
In recent years, I’ve become drawn to more atmospheric photography that speaks to feelings and sensations. I’ve come to embrace the not-knowing: instead of planning what I am looking for in a picture or a story, I let the images unfold before me. This photo was taken during a meditation retreat in the desert town of Mitzpe Ramon. We had gotten up early in the morning, in silence, to go for a day-long walk through the Makhtesh Ramon, a nearby crater. That morning, there was a lot of fog. As we approached a cliff, the sun was coming up, piercing through the haze and casting an eerie light. The people in the distance were barely visible, engulfed in the thick mist, with this vast unknown just beyond the cliff. It was such a powerful moment of feeling completely time- and space-less. Nature has this power to pull us back into another, vaster timescale that reminds us to stop and wonder at what’s around us. There’s wisdom to be found in revisiting places.
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