Views That Have Vanished: The Photographs of David Bivin

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Forty-five years ago, when I first came to Israel, I was an avid photographer. Throughout the 1960s, I traveled all over the country with my camera in hand, taking pictures of beautiful landscapes, archaeological excavations, and cultural events. About four years ago, I approached Todd Bolen (founder of BiblePlaces.com) with the idea of creating a digital collection from the best of my photographs. Today, I am pleased to announce that the collection is finished and available.

Forty-five years ago, when I first came to Israel, I was an avid photographer. Throughout the 1960s, I traveled all over the country with my camera in hand, taking pictures of beautiful landscapes, archaeological excavations, and cultural events. After about a decade and several thousand photographs, I put the camera aside and turned to other pursuits. When publishing Jerusalem Perspective magazine (in the 1980s and 1990s), I had great need of images for the magazine, but time and technology never allowed me to make use of those photos. About four years ago, I approached Todd Bolen (founder of BiblePlaces.com) with the idea of creating a digital collection from the best of my photographs. Today, I am pleased to announce that the collection is finished and available.

The collection is a real treat, as Israel has changed dramatically in the last four decades. We selected the 700 best photographs from Israel, the West Bank (in the early 1960s, before it was captured by Israel), Jordan, and other countries. I have relived the events, as I added explanations to the photographs. The CD-ROM has all of the images in high-resolution, in both jpg and PowerPoint format.

Capernaum synagogue and Church of Peter, 1968

If you want to get an idea of just how much things have changed, take a look at some “Then and Now” views. On the CD, we have more than 100 photo comparisons that illustrate how urbanization and archaeological work has dramatically changed the look of the biblical sites.

There are many unique photos in the collection, including:

    • Archaeological excavations with Yigael Yadin at Megiddo and Masada
    • The Old City of Jerusalem shortly after its capture by Israel in June 1967

Beth Shean before excavations, 1968

  • Important biblical sites in the West Bank that are hard (or impossible) to visit today, including Hebron, Shiloh, Shechem, and Samaria
  • Photographs of many of my teachers, including well-known scholars such as Michael Avi-Yonah, Anson Rainey, Avraham Malamat, Nelson Glueck, and Yohanan Aharoni
  • Biblical sites that have since been destroyed, including the palace of Saul at Gibeah, and the house of Peter at Capernaum before it was built over
  • Military parades in Jerusalem, including the one commemorating the 25th anniversary of the birth of the state of Israel

We think you’ll love traveling back through time and seeing the land the way that it was. You can read more about the collection, see a complete list of photos, and learn why this collection is unique.

David Bivin

Jaffa Gate shortly after the capture of the Old City, July 1967


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