Naturally Nazareth

Ever since I set my camera to vivid I’ve been seeing my life in full color. Life is taking shape in ways I’ve only dreamed about. Just as the May flowers turned technicolor before my eyes I welcomed a new chapter in my life. Ushered in by a food styling and photography workshop put on by Matkonation in Nazareth at the beginning of May, I was privileged to spend a weekend surrounded by more than a dozen passionate and inspiring individuals.

It was by chance that I came across the announcement of the event on their site. My friend Jade, who is living back in Australia now, had posted a link to their site and I was drawn in immediately. There’s an aesthetic to their work that’s inviting, charming and simply delicious. Going through the site brought me to their post advertising the opportunity to spend a weekend in Nazareth and see it through the eyes of a local. It was just the something I had been searching for. By chance I was now connected to a wonderful opportunity to explore my interests in food and photography.

From the car ride up and getting lost on the surprisingly steep Nazareth roads I knew I was on the right path. Staying in the center of the old city was a unique experience that kept us close to the heart of its people and food. A tour and in-action photo session in the central market, and we were armed with our ingredients for the day’s assignment.

Stacks of spices ready for grinding in the market.

Stacks of spices ready for grinding in the market.

Grandfather and grandson shopping in the market.

Grandfather and grandson shopping in the market.

Woven sack of green sour cherries in the market.

Woven sack of green sour cherries in the market.

 

Set against the beautiful and historic Fauzi Azar Inn we chose locations to highlight and tell the story of the materials we picked up during our time exploring the city. We paired up and took turns playing photographer and stylist before getting feedback from the very talented instructors Danya Weiner and Deanna Linder.

This was my first time using a tripod. I usually keep my camera draped around my neck when I’m in the kitchen so getting a picture doesn’t slow down the process of making a meal. I’m guilty of slapping away a hand or two just so I can get the right angle before digging in. In the first exercise we worked with raw ingredients, and in my case, it wasn’t too hard to stop myself for biting into the fresh garlic. The last day and final shoot used prepared dishes that were both lunch and subject. A nibble or two between takes was part of the fun.

 

Fresh garlic and rustic dish from the market.

Fresh garlic and rustic dish from the market.

Leftover dish of sumac set against concrete floor.

Leftover dish of sumac set against concrete floor.

Wild green salad with lemon, olive oil and sumac.

Wild green salad with lemon, olive oil and sumac.

Salads and labaneh spread for lunch in Nazareth.

Salads and labaneh spread for lunch in Nazareth.

Labaneh with local olive oil, zatar, and sumac.

Labaneh with local olive oil, zatar, and sumac.

Fresh spring salad with orange, cilantro, mint, purple onion, lemon and olive oil.

Fresh spring salad with orange, cilantro, mint, purple onion, lemon and olive oil.

Cookies scented with rose water and filled with dates.

Cookies scented with rose water and filled with dates.