Hey friends, I’m Doug Hershey. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, this idea started 12 years ago while taking one of my favorite drives in Israel- driving south on Hwy 90. This route follows the Jordan River from the Galilee region to the Dead Sea in about 2 hrs. 12 years ago, about 20 minutes after we would leave the rich and fertile farmland of the Galilee, the scenery would become dry, brown and dusty desert with small communities scattered along the way until you crested a ridge and saw the green and lush oasis of the ancient city of Jericho 90 mins later. Today, in only 12 years, it’s a different landscape. Due to new Israeli desert farming technology, this same journey is virtually green with desert orchards, vast greenhouses and small farms. The land is changing and today exports 1.5 billion flowers to the US and Europe… grown mostly in the desert.
This land has changed dramatically since Israel became a nation in 1948… just as Ezekiel prophesied. I have the old photos to prove it and you need to see this stunning comparison of what it looks like today!
“Ancient Prophecy, Modern Lens” will be a published photo journalism book that will compare old pictures of the Holy Land taken 100 years ago to current pictures taken from the same angle. This book will reveal the miraculous changes in this region since the establishment of Israel in a way that has never been done before. The circulation of these 100 year-old photos have been very limited creating virtually unseen changes revealed by our “then and now” photo comparisons; from the vast desert farms in the Negev, to booming coastal cities. It’s a literal fulfillment of the Hebrew prophets’ vision of ancient cities being rebuilt.
THE CORE TEAM
Doug Hershey travels regularly to Israel with his company, Ezra Adventures that specializes in small group expeditions for service projects with Jewish and Arab communities paired with unique adventure excursions. He have written a book called a Christian's Biblical Guide to Understanding Israel, co-authored a joint resolution in support of the nation of Israel that passed the Maine state Legislature and have lectured around the US on connecting biblical prophecy and Middle East current events. Despite travel restrictions that warrant bulletproof vehicles and armed escorts at times, Doug has cultivated regional and cultural relationships and access to restricted areas that few have seen.
The professional photographer on this project is Elise Theriault. She is a talented landscape and portrait photographer based out of CA. Elise has been the expedition's photographer of Ezra Adventures and captures a unique and personal side of Israel in her photography. Elise has a drive and desire to photograph the staggering transformation of Israel in the last 70 years and share them with the world.
Our Israeli member of the team is Chaim Malespin, director of the Aliyah Return Center and active member of Israeli Defense Forces. Chaim provides vast contacts within military and political arenas and regularly leads educational groups to unique locations throughout Judea and Samaria, also known as the West Bank.
Many other local guides will join us along the way in several locations to help us find and gain access to specific angles to recreate the original photography angle.
In 570 BCE the prophet Ezekiel foresaw that this land would be desolate until the time that Israel would return to their biblical and historic homeland. He prophesied that when this occurs, the land would be revived and “put forth fruit and the waste cities rebuilt." Today, we are seeing that prophetic vision unfolding before the eyes of the world and that vision will be capture in “Ancient Prophecy, Modern Lens”!
We have obtained publishing permission for 2206 photos from the “American Colony, Eric Matson Collection” (1881-1940s). This collection has been culled down to 350 of the best photos at over 25 locations throughout Israel. After the photo shoots, the best comparisons will be narrowed down again to 120 to be compiled into a jaw dropping “then/now” documentation of the land’s transformation as Ezekiel foresaw.
The support for this project has already been encouraging. National Geographic has shown interest. Local Israeli leaders and organizations have expressed their support like Mayor Asaf Mintzer of Elkana and the Aliyah Return Center in Tiberias.
We intend to shoot these locations in May and June of 2016. The completed book project will be published in 2017.