photography |
of a palestine we don’t get to see


orchestra, palestine –– by alex wendler

photographs by alex wendler | interview by dinika govender

Alex Wendler is a freelance cinematographer, photographer, film editor, and sometimes surfer based in Berlin after his family moved there from Siberia, Russia, when he was five years old. He has worked across commercial and global media—from VICE to Mercedes-Benz—but his lens is gravitating more and more towards underrepresented stories within mainstream narratives.

So, when he was invited by Al Kamandjati––a Palestinian nonprofit organization and music school––to join his partner and accomplished classical musician, Sarah Martin, and document an annual Orchestra Tour that Sarah would be participating in, he did not have to be asked twice. He traveled with the group covering rehearsals, concerts around the West Bank, visiting Ramallah, Bethlehem, Nablus, East Jerusalem and the Aida Refugee Camp.

Having arrived in Palestine shortly after the Knesset had approved the Jewish nation-state law, topics of Palestinian life in the West Bank,as well as Western perceptions of Islam dominated discussions.

“Reading about [Occupied Palestine] in the news is completely different than actually seeing it. It’s sickening. The thing that stood out to me during conversations was how many people I talked to had a friend or family member shot and often times killed by the defence force or Israelis––not even during protests or riots––just walking, for example, to a bakery. Hearing how this is considered to be “normal” still haunts me,” says Alex.

“Even though daily life is marked by segregation and control, you can easily see that people have not lost hope and are proud of their heritage. Art is everywhere.“

This travel diary offers a glimpse of that art, culture, and community constrained within the confines of walls, militarized access, and borders that the outside world does not––or will not––readily see.


Orchestra, Palestine
September 2018

Follow Alex here