About the Book
Born in Israel, Ilan has visited the UNESCO World Heritage site on numerous occasions. However, it was during a recent family trip that the idea to produce a portfolio of portraits (for his fellowship application to the Photographic Society of New Zealand) first took form. Not wanting to hold up the family, Ilan returned by himself in January 2015 and spent days exploring the winding, cobbled streets and tiny, dimly lit shops of the Muslim, Jewish, Armenian and Christian quarters.
While his collection of striking monochrome images captures a range of people going about their daily lives, it was the city’s merchants that Wittenberg was particularly drawn to. “Many people are not happy, you can see that,” says Ilan, “but that’s for good reasons: the economy is down. There are very few customers and very little foot traffic because there is a lot of stress in the streets. Wars, religious tension and the ongoing political conflict scare the tourists away.”
His journey as a photographer started relatively recently in 2011, but Ilan has already been given the honour of Fellow of the Photographic Society of New Zealand as well as a Master of the New Zealand Institute of Professional Photography. Selected prints from ‘Faces of Jerusalem’ portfolio contributed to the body of work that won Wittenberg the prestigious title of NZIPP 2015 Auckland Photographer of the Year. The collection also took first place in the Documentary Book section of the 2015 Moscow International Foto Awards, a competition that attracted entries from 84 countries.
Titled Black, White & Colour, Ilan Wittenberg's first exhibition featured portraiture, landscape and fine art. Faces of Jerusalem portfolio was exhibited at Te Uru Waitakere Contemporary Gallery in 2015. The Bare Truth series was exhibited at the 2016 Head On Photo Festival in Sydney as well as the Signature Programme of the 2016 Auckland Festival of Photography. Ilan's award winning photo was chosen for the cover of D-Photo magazine together with a feature story: Faces of Morocco. From here to Africa - The Maasai people collection was exhibited at UXBRIDGE Gallery in early 2020. This documentary travel series was also featured at hEAD oN photo festival in Sydney. Wittenberg's Scape exhibition featured at the 2020 Auckland Festival of photography Core programme. Ilan is a judge in photo competitions. He is NZIPP 2020, 2018, 2016 & 2015 Auckland Photographer of the year. Ilan has a B.Sc. degree in Industrial Engineering and an M.B.A. in Information Technology.