This image of a Bauhaus building in Tel Aviv's city center has become one of Biran's most iconic. This image of a Bauhaus building in Tel Aviv's city center has become one of Biran's most iconic. This image of a Bauhaus building in Tel Aviv's city center has become one of Biran's most iconic. (Photo: Ido Biran)

A street photographer helps define one of the world's coolest cities

Ido Biran's images on Instagram and Facebook showcase the character of his hometown.

Some people can't help but follow their heart, no matter the risk involved. Ido Biran is one such person. After embarking on one successful career, the 36-year-old Israeli gave it all up for another – and the gamble has paid off.

In 2014 Biran abandoned a promising career in architecture to become a self-employed street photographer. Today he has gained 6,500 followers on Instagram and 5,700 on Facebook, where for the past two years he has documented his hometown of Tel Aviv, Israel.

Biran often frames a scene and then waits for something interesting to enter it.Biran often frames a scene and then waits for something interesting to enter it. (Photo: Ido Biran)

The project has led to a line of T-shirts, hats, postcards and prints. He's also formed partnerships with both the private and public sector, including El Al Airlines and the City Municipality of Tel Aviv, who queue up to use his images in promotional materials and on social networks.

Biran was no stranger to photography when he embarked on his odyssey, having exhibited photos in New York as well as Israel. And he briefly worked as a photographer for TimeOut Tel Aviv magazine. Despite possessing a master's degree in architecture from the University of California Los Angeles and a promising career in the field, he felt restless.

Biran's images capture the full spectrum of Tel Avivian life.Biran's images capture the full spectrum of Tel Avivian life. (Photo: Ido Biran)

"I didn't feel like I gave photography the right time or attention and I wanted this time to give it the attention it deserved and see where it could take me," he told From The Grapevine.

He did it all on a whim, with not much more than a camera and his curiosity.

"When I started I just started and one thing led to another. I didn't even have a name," he explained of his humble beginnings.

Among the many features that makes Tel Aviv so photogenic for Biran is its proximity to the sea.Among the many features that makes Tel Aviv so photogenic for Biran is its proximity to the Mediterranean Sea. (Photo: Ido Biran)

At first he began by photographing street signs, influenced by his travels.

"I was inspired by photographs of street signs mostly I think in New York and Paris," Biran explained. "When you travel it's a very pop item, a very touristic thing and I think I am attracted to that."

But eventually he immersed himself in Tel Aviv, and all that it offers.

Ido Biran usually focuses his camera on others, but here has it turned on himself.Ido Biran usually focuses his camera on others but here has it turned on himself. (Photo: Zach Pontz)

Biran told us is that what draws him to the city's streets are "the beach, the skyscrapers, the variety of people and cultures, the different neighborhoods and the character of these neighborhoods." He added that the contrast between the old and the new in this fast-growing city is equally inspiring.

His images have become popular because he photographs the city in a way that captures its essence without being cliché. His signature has become this close-up photo of the popular Israeli popsicle Shoko Banana with the Mediterranean in the background.

Biran's Shoko Banana photo happened by chance but has become among his most popular images.Biran's Shoko Banana photo happened by chance but has become among his most popular images. (Photo: Ido Biran)

And he photographs countless little moments that take place in the cafes, on the streets and sidewalks, and even on the walls, that make Tel Aviv what it is.

"It's often the things we overlook that make up the city, and that's what I wanted to capture."

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