It's hard for me to believe that it's been less than a week since I shot this photo, harder still to comprehend the rapid deterioration of the situation in Gaza and southern Israel.
Even before this latest escalation, I was in awe of the resilience that I saw in the children living under constant threat. This photo is a reaction to that. Not based on any one drawing, it was spontaneous. As I've mentioned before, I had just seconds to grab a toy and quickly compose a shot. I wasn't even sure why I grabbed this figurine out of the giant bag of playthings I had with me. In the moment, it felt right, just as it feels right to release a draft of the image now.
My thoughts are with the children living under siege. I know that they will emerge from this conflict and find the strength to survive and eventually thrive, despite the destruction. Still, the fear and anxiety that they must endure now is difficult to imagine.
It's why I started this project, and why I continue it.
Today, I was suppose to start collaborations with Israeli children living opposite the Gaza Strip, the ones targeted most by rockets and mortars fired by Palestinian militants. Unfortunately, with the situation being what it is, I'm not sure when I'll be able to begin this important chapter of the project.
I'm calling on all of my contacts to gain access to children that have been evacuated or are remaining in the relative safety of their homes. It's likely that I'll be conducting one-on-one interviews, if I'm able to do any at all while the conflict continues to escalate. With two weeks left in the trip, I'm hopeful that I'll be able to pull something together. If not, then I'll do what I can to plan for the next trip, after the situation improves.
Again, I sincerely hope that both sides will step away from the edge and begin serious discussions before this goes any further.