Yehoshua Halevi has worked more than 25 years as a professional photojournalist, teacher, mentor and photographer of lifecycle events. His credits include a distinguished list of international clientele, including major publications, highlighted by National Geographic, as well as non-profit organizations, corporations and private individuals.
“I got a Nikon camera. I love to take photographs. Oh mama, don’t take my Kodachrome away.” – Paul Simon
Kodachrome may be gone, but the joy of photography rages on inside my soul. My father, of blessed memory, bought me my first camera when I was 11 years old, an Olympus Pen Half Frame, which shot 72 pictures per roll. Sometimes an entire year would elapse before I burned a complete roll. I remember sitting in a hotel in Palm Springs, Calif., during school vacation, while my father taught my sister and me the basics of photography one afternoon. He had worked briefly as a commercial photographer in the 1960s and I still use some of his rugged old Nikon equipment.
That was the extent of my formal education in photography until years later, when I attended the U.C. Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism. There, I entered a darkroom for the first time and a world of boundless creativity opened up before me. I was hooked. From then on, wherever I lived, I devised a small darkroom, setting up my equipment in bathrooms and closets and basement crannies, so I could get my fix of staring into a pool of developer under a dim red bulb, watching my art magically appear.
As I worked my way through several reporting and editing jobs, I found myself continually returning to photography to complement my writing. From 1992-1998, I owned and published the Jewish News of Western Massachusetts. Opportunities for serious photographic projects were limited, but I did manage to organize and participate in a Day in the Life of the Jewish Community, which the paper sponsored and published. In 1998, when I relocated with my family to Israel, I adopted photography as my primary profession.
I am nearly entirely self-taught, which is to say that while I never attended an institute of photography, many other photographers have inspired my creative vision with their images and books about their craft. Some I have had the pleasure of meeting and others have been silent mentors. From these teachers and from countless hours with camera in hand, I learned the essentials of great picture taking: master technique, learn to see light and detail, engage with your subjects, rise before the sun and be patient.
My professional assignments have taken me to the tops of mountains and out to sea chasing Humpback whales. I have had the privilege of traveling to 40 countries on five continents to work on a variety of editorial, advertising, public relations and personal projects. My work has been exhibited in California, Massachusetts and Israel and has earned numerous awards for both art and photojournalism.
I continue to accept a wide range of assignments while managing a stock library of images from around the world with an emphasis on religion, spirituality, and the Middle East. And no matter what or where I’m shooting, I continue to nurture a vision of our world that allows me, through my camera, to take something ordinary and make it extraordinary.