Ever visit the Dead Sea? Nothing compares, except maybe travelling to Mars. It’s a wonder of the world. Your jaw will drop and your body will feel something like zero gravity when you step into the extreme saltiness of the Dead Sea. But with millions of visitors year after year, this natural wonder – once the beauty secret of Cleopatra – is literally vanishing before our eyes. A complex array of environmental, economic and political factors are causing the Dead Sea to disappear at an alarming rate.
A couple of entrepreneurs from Israel, with partners, are launching a photo competition that started this week, to save the Dead Sea. The ultimate aim is to showcase these images in a real museum one day, at the Dead Sea, but before that, in a virtual museum for you to explore the natural wonder and art that the Dead Sea inspires.
The awareness that the Dead Sea needed documentation came from Noam Bedein and Ari Leon Fruchter. Noam is a photojournalist who founded a media center in a war zone of Israel at the border with the Gaza Strip, and has been capturing the Dead Sea through time-lapse photography for the past 4 years. Ari Leon Fruchter is a hi-tech executive and art collector whose family is one of the founders of the Israel Museum.
“It saddens me to see the Dead Sea disappearing,” says Fruchter. “So the idea is to preserve what we have today for future generations to appreciate. My journey with the Dead Sea began nine years ago when I brought the artist Spencer Tunick to Israel. The resulting art installation included 1,200 participants floating nude at the Dead Sea,” he says.
Spencer Tunick’s Dead Sea project. It brought out hundreds of naked Israelis to volunteer their bodies for art and conservation.
“My latest dream is to build a physical Museum at the Dead Sea, but with the Coronavirus pandemic, I have turned these efforts towards developing a virtual museum of art. The International Dead Sea Photo Competition is a great way to allow the public to be a part of this initiative.”
The two are calling their project the Dead Sea Revival Project and the Dead Sea Virtual Museum. They are partnering with an online app Gurushots who will showcase entries and results, as part of a contest. Sign up and submit your photos here.
He takes visitors by dingy on rare visits into the Dead Sea
“This April would have marked 4 years since I began documenting the Dead Sea with time-lapse photography,” says Bedein. “I have led and promoted hundreds of eco-boat tours on the Dead Sea, showing the dramatic changes as well as the magic and beauty of our World Wonder. This is our unique chance to show our appreciation to our surrounding nature and environment that has often been forgotten.”
Judges for the photo contest include photographer superstar Spencer Tunick. Winners will be announced on September 16 at an event at the Dead Sea.
About the Dead Sea Projects
The Dead Sea Revival Project is the only non-profit, non-partisan organization focused solely on historically documenting the Dead Sea. It has been recognized by NASA, who catalogs the Dead Sea decline from space satellites and featured in magazines such as National Geographic and on international TV and news programs for its environmental work.
The Dead Sea Virtual Museum will commission digital artworks to showcase original digital artworks to bring attention to an ongoing, yet reversible, ecological disaster.
Although surreally beautiful the Dead Sea decline can be see in three years time-lapse photographs here.