arts and design

A happy baby on a train: Dina Alfasi’s best phone picture

Dina Alfasi has often said that her favourite place to shoot is on the train. It’s not only a mobile studio with, as she puts it, great natural light and interesting subjects; it also lends itself to contemplation, to being in the moment.

The Israeli photographer was on her way to work in Haifa, Israel when this baby started laughing. It was 8am, on a June morning. The child was seated on the table: the rolling landscape beyond the window and the young women on the seats opposite vying for her attention. When they got her to laugh, the whole coach joined in. “There was a dreamy sense of joy,” Alfasi says, “a pure moment of unity and innocence.” It is that feeling she sought to retain with any image adjustments – the gentle colour, the Magritte clouds, the painterly highlights along chin and cheek. That the young woman in the foreground was a soldier with a gun on her knee is an integral part of that moment.

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Alfasi has become adept at using her phone – and now she only uses her phone – to capture these layered images, from which, she says, “a sea of emotions” can result. “You can tell a whole story in one picture, and everyone will see it differently. For those in Israel, this is an everyday reality, but for others, this contrast will stand out and surprise them.”


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