Dan Porges

Porges, in the emotional storm of the situation and focused on the paratroops near the Western Wall, didn’t even notice the other photographer when he was taking the photo

When Dan Porges was recruited for reserve duty before the Six Day War he didn’t bring his camera with him, even though he regarded it as an essential part of his body.  When one of the men in his unit went home for the weekend Porges asked him to stop by his parents’ house and fetch his camera and a few rolls of film. A couple of days later, when war broke out, the company was transferred from Beit Shemesh to Jerusalem, and Dan photographed as much as he could while fighting.

He photographed the first soldiers entering the Old City through the Lions Gate and photographed them on their way to the Temple Mount, and even took a photo of the flag waving over the Dome of Rock, although he later discovered that the photo was blurry. Dan also took pictures when he and his company made it to the Western Wall, emotional and excited about the historic moment that he was part of. After the war, Porges returned home and printed his photos in the studio of Alfred Bernhiem, the preeminent photographer, where Porges worked as his assistant.  Quite a few of the photos were unclear since the camera was old and kept on falling during the fighting, since Porges was there as a soldier and not as a photographer. He filed the photos, went on with his life and didn’t think about them much.

A few weeks later, “Life” magazine came out and was dedicated to the Six Days  War. When Porges got his copy, he was surprised to see what seemed to be one of the photos he took at the Western Wall. The angle was similar, the composition was the same and it showed the same paratroopers kissing the stones of the Wall.  Porges quickly found the negative and reprinted the photo, and then noticed the only difference – in his own picture he could see the photographer taking the photo that was published in “Life”. Porges, in the emotional storm of the situation and focused on the paratroops near the Western Wall, didn’t even notice the other photographer when he was taking the photo