In 1867, American author Mark Twain famously visited Israel, remarking on the sorry state of the land. “A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds,” Twain wrote, “… a silent mournful expanse…a desolation…we never saw a human being on the whole route… hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.”
Today, however, the desert blooms and the people have returned. Tel Aviv has become the number one start-up location in the world. And Doug Hershey would like to document the process through a unique photo-journalism project he calls Ancient Prophecy/Modern Lens.
“Although I didn’t realize it at the time, this idea started 12 years ago while taking one of my favorite drives in Israel- driving south on Hwy 90,” Hershey writes on his Kickstarter page. “This route follows the Jordan River from the Galilee region to the Dead Sea in about 2 hours. 12 years ago, about 20 minutes after we would leave the rich and fertile farmland of the Galilee, the scenery would become dry, brown and dusty desert with small communities scattered along the way until you crested a ridge and saw the green and lush oasis of the ancient city of Jericho 90 minutes later.”
“Today, in only 12 years, it’s a different landscape. Due to new Israeli desert farming technology, this same journey is virtually green with desert orchards, vast greenhouses and small farms. The land is changing and today exports 1.5 billion flowers to the US and Europe annually…grown mostly in the desert.”
Hershey has acquired rights to over 2,000 photos of Israel taken 100 years ago. He has selected some 350 images of 25 locations across the Holy Land and intends to reshoot the locations from the same angle today. This will reveal the startling changes that have take place over time. The 120 best images will be published side-by-side with the originals in Ancient Prophecy/ Modern Lens.
He would like to photograph between February 15 and March 18, 2016, when spring begins to bloom in Israel.
Although this is not the first book to contrast images of Israel then and now, Hershey’s book is unique for two reasons. The first is scale. While other books have focused on particular locations, “it is my understanding that nothing like this has been [done] on this scale throughout Israel before,” Hershey told Breaking Israel News.
The second aspect is spiritual: in his project, Hershey intends to demonstrate how the growth and development occurring in Israel today directly fulfils the prophecy of Ezekiel 36.
“Not only is [the book] documenting historical changes, it touches on a spiritual aspect that is important to both Jewish and Christian audiences – God’s faithfulness to His promises made in the Tanakh,” Hershey explained to Breaking Israel News. “From historical accounts of the land from 150 years ago and photos from only 100 years ago, the land is changing in the way and order that Ezekiel 36 describes – The waste cities being rebuilt, multiplying man and beast, branches putting forth fruit, etc. WHEN ‘My people Israel’ walk on and possess the land (Ezekiel 36:8-12). The finished book will explain portions of Ezekiel 36 accompanied by historical accounts and show the side by side comparisons and let the reader decide.”
This exciting project is under a time crunch: in order to start photography in the spring, Hershey needs to raise the necessary funds by midnight tomorrow. To offer your support, click here.