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  • Jerusalem Old City market. Photo credit: Noam Chen| Israeli Ministry of Tourism
Blogs

Capturing the Heart

Kay Wilson - 16 November 2021

In a world saturated with digital images that enables anyone with even a smart phone to compete in the world of photography, it’s no mean feat to be one of the best: And that is exactly what Noam Chen is.

Whether it be capturing magnificent urban landscapes, rarely-seen desert animals, intriguing portraits, or an ingenious plethora of architecture, the award-winning young Chen is fast becoming one of the most beloved photographers in Israel and around the globe. His world class photos have deservedly been published in journals and magazines in Israel, Europe, North America, and even in the cherished National Geographic.

“The award-winning young Chen is fast becoming one of the most beloved photographers in Israel and around the globe”

Barely looking a day over 30, he rose up the ranks to be the official photographer of Jerusalem for the Israeli Ministry of Tourism. The high-profile events he documented, included the first visit by Pope Francis to Jerusalem. Pop musicians Mariah Carey and Gladys Knight have also notably featured his work on their social media accounts.

Perhaps his most moving work was a photo-shoot at the death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau. This was more than a project. As a 3rd generation son of Holocaust survivors, it captured his own personal reflections. Unsurprisingly, his project went viral and was even selected for a world-renowned photography exhibition in Colombia, the theme of which was Memory and Resilience. Until today, the 2018 exhibit remains on display as part of the Museum’s permanent collection. Following the historic 2020 Abraham Accords between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, Chen also became the first Israeli and Jewish artist to have his work screened on the Arabian Gallery’s website.

“Noam derives his inspiration from his homeland which he loves dearly, and his wide knowledge of Israel’s history”

For any artist that manages to succeed in this cut-throat world demands no small dose of inspiration. Noam derives his from his homeland which he loves dearly, and his wide knowledge of Israel’s history. It’s not just about photography or history for Noam, but also about sanctity. Just being present at a place where our Biblical ancestors walked and prayed for thousands of years is his biggest inspiration. He strives to convey that whoever we are, we would do well to know where we came from.

The State of Israel is central to Chen’s work. The importance of our little country, he believes, should never be overlooked. Jewish people should be cognisant of the importance of unity, and of the miraculous – that sees our people back in the land after two thousand years of exile. As Chen sees it, the deep knowledge of one’s roots is a commission to never forget, or give up on the historic right for the land.

There is many a soul who has not yet been to Israel and would love to visit. Chen’s photos enable them to somewhat experience the Holy Land. Responses to his work come in floods of heart-warming messages of encouragement and gratitude. With a genuine love for his land and people, photography for Chen has proved to be more than a job. The power in his images is contagious for all, and Israel – for a change – is viewed in the positive light that it yearns for.

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