Avili and Ruti Levanon lie in the fields of Kiryat Tivon during the national lockdown which followed the Covid-19 outbreak, Israel, March 23, 2020.

As the streets of my hometown grew emptier, the wadi has become more alive than ever. The fields, forests and valleys surrounding Kiryat Tivon, a small town in northern Israel, have always been a significant part of the town’s identity. They were a place where people could run free, travel and meet with their families and friends.

These places were also my childhood landscape, where I searched for solitude, under the great oaks, and fell in love for the first time. However, today this environment plays a much crucial role in the way my community is experiencing the Covid-19 outbreak and its circumstances.As Israel went under a lockdown in early March, and as uncertainty and stress increased, nature has become a spiritual refuge for many of us. The easy access to the outdoor allowed people to find peace without putting themselves, or others at risk. It allowed them to slow down and to look closer at their lives and their decisions. Suddenly, all the background noises disappeared and the daily-life pressure was gone. Within this serenity, I couldn’t help but wonder how our environment effects our mental health in times of crisis.

Since the first days of the national lockdown, I made daily trips to the fields and photographed the people I’ve met there. Each person photographed, a complete stranger or a close friend, was asked to reflect upon our new reality by writing and drawing. Later, the texts and photographs were integrated, as every encounter provided a fresh, new insight into the individual’s private world.

Translation for handwritten text at top of image:

Above, a piece of sky remains,
Just according to our measure

Translation for handwritten text at bottom of image:

Bright and dazzling and the swallows
dived down, up and around
only stalks and the world
was frozen

Daniel Rolider is a visual storyteller whose work focuses on environmental issues and the relationship between humans and nature. Based in Israel, Rolider’s photography explores how the environment shapes us as individuals and as a community. Rolider’s work has been published in National Geographic, the New York Times, the Washington Post, ESPN, PDN, L’Oeil de laPhotographie, and in the Israeli publications Haaretz and Yedioth. In 2018, as part of Sheikh Abreik Festival, he took part in the international Inside Out initiative of the French artist JR, documenting the Jewish and Arab population of his home town and the neighbouring town, Basmat-Tivon. The project, which included pasting of huge posters in the public sphere, was covered and aired by Kan News channel. In 2019, his project Ballad for the Carriage Horse has been published in PDN Photo Annual as a winner of the Students category, and was shortlisted for the Alexia Foundation Student Grant. In 2020, Rolider was nominated for the Joop Swart Masterclass of the World Press Photo. A graduate of the ICP’s Documentary Practice and Visual Journalism Program, where he was awarded the Director’s Fellowship, Rolider attended the Eddie Adams Workshop XXXII and exhibited his work in various museums and galleries in Israel, France, Greece, China and the US.