The PhotoHouse Story
The world renowned PhotoHouse (also known as Pri-Or PhotoHouse), is one of Israel’s most valuable and monumental private archives of historical photographs.
From 1936 until this day it has been family owned and operated for three generations. It is considered to be a landmark for both Israelis and visitors from around the world.
After winning numerous awards, and traveling with exhibits throughout Europe and the United States, we continue to preserve and curate over a million negatives, all taken by photographer and founder, Rudi Weissenstein.
Nowadays The PhotoHouse functions as a shop where one can purchase copies of the photos and other merchandise inspired by and based on Rudi's work, such as: photography books, postcards, fine art prints etc.
Another main work channel is interior design for private and business clients who wish to decorate their walls using our historical photographs.
Rudi & Miriam Weissenstein
1910 - Shimon Rudolph ("Rudi") Weissenstein is born in Iglau / Jihlava, today a part of the Czech Republic.
1928 - Weissenstein Studies graphic design, printing, photography and archive management at the "Graphische Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt" in Vienna.
1931 - Weissenstein Works as a press photographer for the "Prager Presse".
1936 - Weissenstein Arrives in Palestine and starts working as a freelance photojournalist in Tel-Aviv. He meets Miriam Arnstein (1913-2011), who is also originally from Czechoslovakia.
Weissenstein photographs the debut performance of the Palestine Symphony Orchestra, which later becomes the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. He later on follows the orchestra‘s work for 40 years.
1940 - Weissenstein Marries Miriam Arnstein, who becomes his assistant and business partner.
At the same year they open Pri-Or PhotoHouse at Allenby 30 street, Tel-Aviv with his photographer partners Aharon Kogos and Kurt Zillman, who over the years left the partnership.
The Logo of the The PhotoHose was designed by Shlomo ben David.
1948 - Weissenstein is the only official photographer to document the signing ceremony of the Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel at the Tel-Aviv Museum on Rothschild Boulevard.
1961 - Weissenstein Wins first prize at the International Photography Exhibition in Moscow for his "Working Hands" photo series.
Rudi with his Rolleiflex
1992 - Weissenstein Dies in Tel-Aviv. Miriam Weissenstein had his favourite Goethe verse inscribed in Hebrew on his gravestone:
You, fortunate eyes,
All you’ve seen, there,
Let it be as it may,
Yet it was so fair!
He left behind the largest private photo archive in Israel, comprising around one million negatives.
Miriam Weissenstein & her grandson, Ben Zeev Peter Dagan
2004 - Ben Peter, Weissenstein‘s grandson, becomes co-owner of the Photo House Pri-Or along with Miriam Weissenstein.
2011 - A year full of events for The PhotoHouse, a documentary film about The PhotoHouse 'Life in stills', directed by Tamar Tal Anati and producted by Heymann brothers films, wins the Docaviv festival and becomes an award winner all over the world. Link to watch the movie.
After a battle with the local Tel-Aviv authorities lasting many years, the photo studio at Allenby 30 street was forced to give way to a controversial construction project. The PhotoHouse Pri-Or temporarily moves to 5 Tchernichovsky street.
That same year Miriam Weissenstein dies at the age of 97 and was buried next to her husband in Herzliya.
2023 - Today The PhotoHouse is an archive store run by the grandson, Ben Peter. The place is considered a unique historical site for Israelis and visitors from all over the world. The PhotoHouse has finally returned to its original location at Allenby 30.
The PhotoHouse team consists of 4 functionaries: