Sidney Olcott, le premier oeil

 !  Places
  In Jaffa, Olcott, en route to Jerusalem, shooting a film

Spring 1912 Sidney Olcott and his team arrive in Jaffa, Palestine. Their boat comes straight from Alexandria , Egypt where Kalemites come to shoot a series of films. Jaffa is only a necessary step before Jerusalem. However Olcott has time to make The Ancien Port of Jaffa, a documentary on the port, the only one with Beirut which links the holy sites in the West. George Hollister films the harbor, disembarking passengers aboard boats, passing through customs, the fountain, the market... In the evening, the Americans take the train to Jerusalem.

A century later, the places where Olcott and his team landed were little changed. Rocks, located just off the port continue to prevent large vessels from approaching the docks. So we discovered the city flush with water. And even if a mole , made of large stones , has been built, the rest splendid panorama  : a fortified town dominated by the Church of St. Peter. The walls, the minarets, the lighthouse, the beautiful Ottoman houses are still there. However, the city has suffered a lot of fighting between Jews and Arabs in 1947, and then, it is only today that a (large) neighborhood of Tel Aviv, the iconic city of Israel.

Jaffa has been impressive renovations object. Big shacks , docks, warehouses… beautifully restored , host artists' studios, chic boutiques… contrasting with the buildings and the elegant modern homes Bauhaus in Tel Aviv. Even the old station taken by Olcott and his companions was renovated in 2009 It was however abandoned for decades in favor of a larger, more modern building in Tel Aviv. It became the place where the newlyweds have come to have their picture taken.


To discover the amazing collection of pictures taken by Eric and Edith Matson who lived in Palestine from 1898 to 1946 They are kept at the Library of Congress but visible on the Internet.

On the trail of Olcott
Fort Lee
New York

The films directed by Olcott in Egypt and Palestine


©2009 Michel Derrien