Israel Through My Lens: Sixty Years As a Photojournalist

Israel Through My Lens: Sixty Years As a Photojournalist

by David Rubinger

The compelling autobiography of Israel's preeminent photojournalist, illustrated with his most memorable images.

Today, photojournalist David Rubinger stands at the peak of his profession: a winner of the Israel Prize for services to the media and a fixture on the masthead of Time, he is the only photographer whose work is on permanent


The compelling autobiography of Israel's preeminent photojournalist, illustrated with his most memorable images.

Today, photojournalist David Rubinger stands at the peak of his profession: a winner of the Israel Prize for services to the media and a fixture on the masthead of Time, he is the only photographer whose work is on permanent display at the Knesset, Israel’s legislature. In this fascinating volume, he reports his own story, which in many ways reflects the history of Israel that he has recorded so faithfully with his camera. Born in Vienna in 1924, he emigrated to British Palestine in 1939 and developed a passion for photography while serving in the British army’s Jewish Brigade. After fighting in Israel’s War of Independence, he became a professional news photographer, reporting on each of his young nation’s subsequent wars from the front lines, at first for the Israeli media and later as a correspondent for Time-Life. He photographed all of Israel’s leaders, many of whom have allowed him a remarkable degree of access to their lives; Ariel Sharon said, “I trust Rubinger even though I know he doesn’t vote for me.” But Rubinger has not confined his reporting to war and politics; by photographing the successive waves of Jewish immigrants from Europe, the Arab world, Russia, and Ethiopia, he has also created a valuable record of Israel’s transformation from a country of six hundred thousand to one of seven million.

In recounting his eventful career, Rubinger proves himself a gifted raconteur, sharing anecdotes of the many leading personalities he has photographed and telling the stories behind his most famous pictures, many of which are reproduced here at fullpage size. Also illustrated are a selection of Rubinger’s never-before-published personal photographs, which provide vivid behind-the-scenes glimpses into the fast-paced and sometimes daring work of a photojournalist. Both a personal account of one man’s life with the camera and a visual document of the birth of a nation, Israel through My Lens is an essential book for anyone with an interest in Israeli history or the art of photojournalism.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Israel Through My Lens

"…this is a marvelous volume to pick up, examine the faces in these singular photos, read the stories that accompany them and appreciate the special combination of art and journalism that produced these images." — Chicago Jewish Star

"The book is full of personal anecdotes intertwined with historical events, which for many Israelis were defined by Rubinger's photos. In order to tell us about his life, Rubinger opens both his photo archive and his heart." — The Jerusalem Post

"Rubinger has an easy style, recounting each story in his book with a genuine sense of humility and often astonishment—both at what he was able to experience and at his luck for having been able to experience it." — The Jewish Week

"Israel through My Lens…will give readers an insight into the man who made a million split-second decisions regarding the angle and the light in which to view history." — The Forward

"The text deftly interweaves Rubinger's compelling personal story with his views on Israeli leaders and his recollections of the stories behind the photographs. This is a very interesting account of his life and the life of his nation." — Booklist

"…the definitive record of the 60 years since Israel's independence." — TIME Europe

A selection of the Hadassah Israel at 60 Book Club

Product Details

Abbeville Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.50(w) x 10.30(h) x (d)

Read an Excerpt

Israel Through My Lens

Sixty Years As a Photojournalist

By David Rubinger, Ruth Corman, Shimon Peres

Abbeville Press

Copyright © 2008 David Rubinger
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7892-0928-3

Excerpt from Israel Through My Lens

How It All Began

In 2004, I celebrated my eightieth birthday.

On December 26 of that year, the very day that the tsunami struck in Asia, I was confronted by my own personal tsunami. It seems impossible that any personal drama could reduce to insignificance the overwhelming tragedy in the Far East. Something did.

That same morning, I had arranged to go swimming with Ziona, my companion of the past two years. For some reason, she changed her mind, and we agreed to meet at her home for lunch.

Lunchtime came. I went around to the house and found the front door locked. There was no response to my ringing the doorbell, nor did she answer her home phone. I wasn't concerned at first, but then a niggling anxiety began to creep in that something was not quite right. She was always very reliable, and it was totally out of character for her not to be in touch.

After a short time, I rang her daughter-in-law, who had a key to the house. We went there together and let ourselves in. To our absolute horror, we found Ziona with her throat slit lying dead on the kitchen floor. She had been murdered, so it turned out, by her gardener Muhammad, who had asked her for a lot of money, which she had refused to give him.

Suddenly I, the well-known photographer, found myself on the other side of the lens. The story was on the front page of all the papers and featured on every TV news program. Without warning, I and my life were thrust into the spotlight of media attention. In addition to the horror of what had happened, it was a very unaccustomed situation for me to find myself in.

It was probably this intense media focus on my life that prompted me to start thinking about recording it in some way. If you believe in fate, then it was no coincidence that in March 2005 I met an old friend with whom I had not been in touch for some time. She told me I had had a fascinating life and it was a natural and gifted raconteur, and bullied me into talking to her about my life story. She offered to write it. Here it is.


Excerpted from Israel Through My Lens by David Rubinger, Ruth Corman, Shimon Peres. Copyright © 2008 David Rubinger. Excerpted by permission of Abbeville Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

David Rubinger is an Israeli photojournalist. The first photographer to win the prestigious Israel Prize, the state’s highest honor, President Shimon Peres called him "the photographer of the nation in the making." He worked as a photographer for Time-Life for almost 50 years.

Ruth Corman is a London-based photographer, art consultant, and curator, as well as the former director of the British Israel Arts Foundation. She has organized many exhibitions in Britain and Israel, including two shows of David Rubinger's photography.

Shimon Peres is a former prime minister of Israel and a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

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