Two years ago today

Two years ago today, October 15, 2008, I’ve moved to London from Israel.

I was 26 then and been playing with the notion of ‘moving out’ in my head for years.

I have managed to achieve quite a lot in that period of time but I am also feeling that I’m going through a lot of changes in the last few years and since today is a sort of anniversary in a way, I thought I might as well look back, ponder & try to conclude …so here we go.

I’ve seriously started taking pictures in the summer of 2007. That’s when I first bought my first DSLR; Nikon D80. I always tell people I started doing photography at 2007 and that I’m self-taught …or in other words; “yes, I’ve been doing it for a very short time and I never studied – I am very talented”. But actually, going through old archives in my hard drive I realize I’ve been fiddling with cameras back in 2001 when I served in the Israeli army and had access to a Sony Mavica (a 2MP camera that stored files on a 3.5″ floppy disk).

I also used my Dad’s Canon A70 a 3.2MP (Used with 128MB CF cards)

…Eventually followed by Canon Ixus 55 and 65 that lead to the Nikon D80 in May 2007 which I actually bought after quitting a photography equipment imports company where I worked as a PA for the CEO and Import Manager for almost 3.5 years.

This picture here on the left was taken 6 days after I got my Nikon D80 (May 20, 2007) It was taken on the beach 10 minutes walk from my little town, Atlit (near Haifa) in Israel. It’s a picture of my brother doing a freestyle frisbee catch called “Gitis“.  This picture won a first prize in a National Geographic summer sports photography competition in Israel. Looking back I think it’s one of my best picture. Funny how it was taken “just 6 days after I started doing photography”. But It’s not precise.

This picture below of my brother juggling was taken in my parents garden in Israel on May 14, 2007 – when I first played around with my new Nikon D80.

Ayal Juggling

These pictures are from 14th of May 2007. This was the first time I’ve taken pictures with my new “serious” camera, Nikon D80.

Idan's pulling a face
Yoav's Jumping
Yoav & Idan
Shooting Idan shooting
Yoav on way to grab bits of sun
Tel Shikmona from Stella Maris (Haifa, Israel)
Kiryat Shprintsak from Stella Maris (Haifa, Israel)

I may have always had a good sense for understanding technical things like operating a DSLR camera but I guess I was also lucky to understand a good composition from bad composition.

It may seem like a bunch of beautiful images but they were carefully chosen and tweaked out of 111 total pictures taken on that day. Here are the original untouched thumbs from the camera below:

These photos above are NOT the first images I’ve taken with a camera. I do recall waking up early one morning in my old parents Haifa flat, grabbing my dad’s snapshot film camera and going to the back laundry room where we had a big window facing the other building. I just took random pictures of the building opposite side ours. I don’t even remembering seeing the photos once developed. I can’t even say if I enjoyed it. I think I did – This must have been sometime around 1985-86, when I was 3-4.

Here are few pictures taken during 2001 with a Sony Mavica during my army service in Israel (Actually, quite lots of self portraits which I’ve never done since):

Gate Series

I was also able to take it with me outside the base and take more pictures:

And more (Scanned from film) taken in August 2002 during the our little annual journey, driving down to the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat, Israel:

Tal on top of the Jazzmobile

Shadows on Jazzmobile

I’ve also used my Canon Ixus 55 & 65 which was one of the reasons I didn’t get a DSRL so fast – The comfort of having a small camera with you was so appealing. I was able to carry it in my snowboard jacket while we were up in the alps and more; it was just easy:

Kirchberg, Austria (January, 2006)
Kirchberg, Austria (January, 2006)
Yoni in Kirchberg, Austria (January, 2006)
My dog, Barak, few days before he died (November 14, 2006)

SO! What am I even saying here besides posting a lot of old pictures?

I really don’t know. I feel lucky that I got to where I am. But I also feel it has nothing to do with luck. Maybe I AM lucky but not for my talent (at least that’s what people say) – I think sometimes my true talent or luck is my ability to keep pushing, keep hustling. I keep facebooking, flickring, twittering (more recently). Keep meeting people. Trying to go out as much as possible; Get AS MUCH exposure to my photography.

The funny thing is I’m still just getting used to being called ‘a photographer’ – always makes me giggle when I tell people “I’m a photographer” when they ask me what I do. I played guitar from the age of 15 and kind of left that out a bit. Always been fascinated by film – so I keep telling people maybe that is the next phase. Maybe music, maybe both – maybe none – who knows. I just don’t like to limit myself to anything. I think nobody should. Although I feel VERY confused lately with where I am as an artist and as a human being in this world, I feel these two years have been great to me. Two magnificent years of observation and experiments. Learning more about my profession and skills and getting SO MUCH inspiration from so many different sources.

…Saying I’m psyched up will be just the beginning of a much greater adventure. I can only say I am SO HAPPY I’m here, in London. I love this city and I love the new friends I’ve made and people I keep meeting. I can’t wait to what the future will bring.

To you, London.

Ben x


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Ben Hopperreply
October 15, 2010 at 12:22 pm

I like how this blog is taking shape slowly 🙂

Nino Paulitoreply
October 15, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Wow! What a great story. It’s nice to hear about the history and see how past work and events have influenced where you are now. Never knew you were in the army too which is very surprising.

Seems everything has turned out pretty well for you though. You produce great photos and seem to have a lot of fun in the process. I’m sure your success will continue in the future due to your hard work and determination.

I’m feel quite inspired by this as I’m at the beginning of my journey too and can only hope mine is as much of a success as yours.

Take care dude and keep up the good work…

Ben Hopperreply
October 15, 2010 at 1:50 pm
– In reply to: Nino Paulito

Thank you so much I’m just glad you find it inspiring as well! I hoped it would! Ben

maja mijicreply
October 24, 2010 at 5:37 pm

You are very talented and sensitive young man.

Ben Hopperreply
November 3, 2010 at 5:32 pm
– In reply to: maja mijic

thank you my dear! 😀

maja mijicreply
October 24, 2010 at 5:39 pm

My dog Lola also died in 2006.

Ben Hopperreply
November 3, 2010 at 5:32 pm
– In reply to: maja mijic


Natasha Brilliantovareply
October 28, 2010 at 6:04 pm

It’s funny – in October 15th I did alija to Israel, in 1996… And my mom’s birthday is October 15th… How do you feel in London? What do you do there exectly?

Ben Hopperreply
November 3, 2010 at 5:33 pm
– In reply to: Natasha Brilliantova

london is great! i’m a photographer… 🙂

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