photo essay

Luke Pyenson | 12.10.2014 | Issue #6/7


This past summer, I traveled to the West Bank.

Though I covered a fair amount of ground, I bookended my trip in and around the holy city of Bethlehem. Tourists flock here by the busload, many of them on religious pilgrimages, and many of them entirely unaware of the fact that they’re in Palestine.

I was acutely aware of where I was, and had come on a pilgrimage of my own. Curious about how the political situation manifests itself in the region’s gastronomy—a side of Palestine not often shown in the mainstream media—I set out to document the bright, colorful, thoughtful food culture that stands in mighty contrast to our less-than-flattering perceptions of life in the Middle East.

I can’t (and don’t want to) pretend that this food exists in a vacuum, or that everything is peachy in Palestine (it isn’t). What I am hoping to do is show, in the spirit of the holiday season, snapshots from the streets of this wonderful part of the world, too often shrouded in conflict.