Expeditions to Tien Shan Mountains                  Expeditions to Judean desert and the Dead Sea area



   Leonid Padrul


Art Photographer EFIAP of the Federation of International Art Photography (FIAP) at  UNESCO

- Member of Israeli Photo Art Federation

- Member of Israeli Journalist Union


Leonid Padrul resides and works in Israel since 1994. He arrived from the Ukraine as already recognized and mature master of art photography, prize-winner of dozens international exhibitions and photo salons in Russia and abroad. From his early age he took a special interest in landscape photography, one of the most complex genres in this technique. His passion strengthened as he took part in arduous mountaineering tours to Pamir and Tien Shan, never parting with a camera even during the hardest ascensions.


In Israel Padruls talent blossoms. He runs the photography department of the countrys largest archeological museum in Ramat Aviv, contributes to National Geographic Magazine. Lately Padrul started working as a teacher: he leads master-classes in natural architectural scenery of the ancient cities of Jaffa, Akko, Caesarea, Jerusalem, and in the Judean desert. His works are annually displayed at art exhibitions.


Israel, a country with ancient Biblical history, opened for Padrul new creativity outlets, made his art deeper and more sophisticated. Especially important for the masters development became his participation as photographer in archeological projects of studying Qumran caves organized by National Geographic Magazine in 2002. During this expedition, as Padrul admitted later, he got really fascinated by the Dead Sea area, the most interesting but also the most complicated object for art photography.


As a result of the ensuing Padruls trips to that area, thousands of high quality photos made without computer processing appeared. Forty of them were presented at 2007 exhibition The Shadow of Jerusalem” at Photo Union gallery (Moscow).

Padruls passion for the "high mountain" subjects received further development in Israel, and was transformed in the course of time to "high spiritual" subjects acquiring in his works philosophical treatment. Through alternation and comparison of images of Jerusalem and the Dead Sea vicinities Padrul in metaphorical and allegorical form expresses such oppositions as elevated vs ordinary, light vs shadow…


Jerusalem in the Bible is always associated with light. The Book of the Prophet Isaiah says: "The Gentiles shall come to Thy light, and kings to the brightness of Thy rising." (Isaiah LX, 3.) The mythologem of heavenly Jerusalem is connected with such motives as Messiahs advent, Solomons Temple restoration and clearing of the Golden Gate. Israelis say to rise to Jerusalem, which means not only the citys mountain location but also ascension as a spiritual category.


On the contrary, the Dead Sea which in antiquity was named the Sodom and Asphalt Sea and the Sea of Lot, is located in a deep depression about 400 meters below sea level, the lowest place on the Earth. Historically, its coast accommodated Sodom and Gomorrah, nearly the best-known Biblical cities which have become universal symbols of vice, moral decline and divine punishment. In Cabbala writings the area of the Dead Sea is named The Shadow of Jerusalem.


Padruls individuality of philosopher and observer was brightly demonstrated in epic-monumental photos of majestic natural landscapes reminding of space photographs. Landscape pictures showing deserted hills once bearing Sodom and Gomorrah, Jericho, remains of Masada fortress, semi-destroyed Herod the Greats palaces and hardly accessible Qumran caves, all this excites imagination and appeals to historical memory.

The area of the Dead Sea is in the same time a place which for many centuries attracted Christian pilgrims. Here flows the Jordan River, here stands the Temptation Mountain on which, according to the legend, Jesus prayed for forty days, tempted by Satan.


As Padrul himself admits, he was fascinated by the Dead Sea area not only because of its legendary history, but also due to its extraordinary technical and artistic challenges. First of all it featured unusual illumination, completely new to the artist. The blinding sun, sharp contrasts of light create quickly varying effects of complex bright colors and soft dispersed pastel shades. On some photos light and space dominate; on others, the accent is put on primordial essence of the mountains and heavy desert sands or on intricate supernatural patterns of the Dead Sea salt crystals. One can say symbolically that realization of the most complicated project Landscapes of the Dead Sea became one more mountain top conquered by Leonid Padrul.



Among Israeli artists Leonid Padrul is reputed as an unsurpassed master of extremely complicated landscapes. Photos from the series Landscapes of the Dead Sea have been published in all major photo magazines of Israel, Czech Republic and the Ukraine, and in the National Geographic. Renowned documentary film director Roni Sofer shot a film about the photographer and his project for TV-channel Nature.



Selected exhibitions:

1986 – International exhibitions: Hong Kong (Bronze Cup), Czech Republic (Gold Medal)

1987 – International exhibitions in Italy (Gold Medal) and Hungary (Silver Medal)

1988 – International exhibition in Brazil (Bronze Medal).

1992 – International exhibition in Hungary (Bronze Medal)

2000 – Two personal exhibitions in Israel

2007 – Exhibitions in the Knesset of Israel and in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Jerusalem

2007 – Exhibition in Photo Union Gallery Moscow, Russia

2007 – Exhibition in Migdal Shalom Gallery, Tel Aviv

2008 – Exhibition at the National Gallery, Bangkok, Thailand 

           Invitation to the National Gallery, Bangkok, Thailand



1978 – 1984 – Expeditions to Tien Shan and Pamir Mountains

1999 – 2007 – Expeditions to Judean desert and the Dead Sea area

2002 – Expedition to Qumran caves as part of the National Geographic project



The Dead Sea is the artist’s source of inspiration. Video


הצלם ליאוניד פדרול – מהמקום הנמוך בעולם ללב ממלכת סיאם


"The Shadow of Jerusalem" in Thailand


תערוכה בגלריית "פוטו-סויז" במוסקבה


צילה של ירושלים" במוסקבה


צלמים עולים מפיצים את ישראל


בים המלח, בקניון ובאפלת המוח


עולים ומצלמים



Leonid Padrul

Art Photographer

tel.: + 972-544806822

























Exhibition of Leonid Padrul

(Israel )














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