Articles in Category: Photography

Photography

Two Jewish Views of Photography: Chim at International Center of Photography

Written on April 12, 2013

Tereska (1948) photograph by David Seymour © Chim (David Seymour)/ Magnum Photos
Two masters of modern photography are on view at the International Center of Photography; Chim (Szymin); aka David Seymour and Roman Vishniac.  They are both Jewish and just happen to bring astute but radically different visions to Jewish photographic subjects. These brilliant, exhaustive exhibitions help us examine the fundamentals of what it means to create a Jewish Art in photography.

Two Jewish Views of Photography: Vishniac at International Center of Photography

Written on April 12, 2013

Nettie Stub (1938) photograph by Roman Vishniac © Mara Vishniac Kohn. Courtesy International Center of Photography
Two masters of modern photography are on view at the International Center of Photography; Chim (Szymin); aka David Seymour and Roman Vishniac.  They are both Jewish and just happen to bring astute but radically different visions to Jewish photographic subjects. These brilliant, exhaustive exhibitions help us examine the fundamentals of what it means to create a Jewish Art in photography.

Bill Aron’s Time Machines
Forever Young, Forever Old: Panoramas of Israel

Written on September 07, 2012

Tallit Steps Revisited (19 ¾ x 13) digital print by Bill Aron Courtesy 92nd Street Y

Photographs seems like cruel little slices from the past, frozen images of what will never be again.  Since we assume that the photographic image is, by and large, a factual view of some reality, it is inherently believed and trusted.  But now be forewarned.  It ain’t necessarily so.  Bill Aron’s new images at the 92nd Street Y betray and beguile so as to force us to reassess the meaning of what we see.

Jews and Social Conscience
The Radical Camera: New York’s Photo League; 1936 – 1951

Written on February 20, 2012

Boy Jumping into the Hudson River (1948) Gelatin silver print by Ruth Orkin Courtesy The Jewish Museum

“Boy Jumping into the Hudson River” (1948) by Ruth Orkin reflects a tragic moment in the history of the New York photographic group, the Photo League.  On the surface simply a carefree moment of urban youth, and yet dangerous.  That year was the beginning of the end of a brave experiment in modern photography started only 12 years earlier.

Last Folio
A Photographic Journey with Yuri Dojc

Written on April 04, 2011

Tefillin Bardejov, 2008, photograph by Yuri Dojc Courtesy the artist

Can the Holocaust be memorialized by an aesthetically beautiful object?   Doesn’t the obscenity of the crime create a fundamental contradiction?  The question still stands 66 years later, even as art is still being made about the Holocaust. Jewish creativity seeks to smother hate. But the questions persist: can a memorial ignite hope instead of despair?

Iconic Images from Israel
Rina Castelnuovo: Photographs

Written on May 02, 2010

Beersheba, Israel, 2009; color photograph by Rina Castelnuovo Courtesy Andrea Meislin Gallery

Iconic images are rare, especially in the mundane world of photojournalism.  But when they happen their intense simplicity compresses a host of ideas and emotions in a single picture, making complexity seem transparent. Israeli photojournalist Rina Castelnuovo excels at this skill.  Her first solo exhibition currently at the Andrea Meislin Gallery is a breathtaking tour-de-force of photographic insight focusing on the complex reality of Israeli life.

One Family
Photographs of Vardi Kahana

Written on January 23, 2008

Three Sisters, 1992 by Vardi Kahana Courtesy Andrea Meislin Gallery

The Holocaust was “Ground Zero of the Greenwald-Kahana family.”  In the midst of the murderous fury of 1944 three sisters were tattooed with consecutive numbers in Auschwitz.  They were lucky; they survived while so many of their family perished.  The sisters found their way to Israel where they met men, married, had children who had children who will have children.

Davidson, Singer and the Jews

Written on October 19, 2007

Storekeepers from a candy store on Avenue B (1973) gelatin silver print by Bruce Davidson Collection of the artist, courtesy of the Howard Greenberg Gallery.   © Bruce Davidson Magnum Photos.

Sometime in 1967 Bruce Davidson, the photographer, met Isaac Bashevis Singer, the writer and they went down to the Lower East Side to the Garden Cafeteria to chat, have coffee and rice pudding.  It began a creative friendship that lasted more than twenty years until Singer passed away in 1991.

Frydlender’s Constructions

Written on August 09, 2007

Raid. 2003, Chromogenic color print by Barry Frydlender Collection of Miriam and David Landau, NY

What is Frydlender up to?

Barry Frydlender, the prominent Israeli photographer, is currently privileged with simultaneous exhibitions at the Tel Aviv Museum and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.  His New York exhibition consists of a mere 10 works that examine various aspects of Israeli life today.

Dateline: Israel at the Jewish Museum

Written on June 12, 2007

Wanderland, 2002-4, Gelatin-silver prints (18x24) by Leora Laor Andrea Meislin Gallery, New York

Photography is a tantalizingly young medium that burst upon the visual scene with the spectacular daguerreotype invented in France in 1839.  Its use and popularity quickly spread from Europe to the Middle East so much so that an early commentator on photography, Francis Wey, called pictures that document the Orient (Palestine) “peaceful conquests.”

Ozeri's Bukharan Conversation

Written on January 02, 2006

Look someone in the eye and you immediately begin a narrative. Photograph them while they are looking at the camera and a cascade of narratives are launched. That is the nature of our visual selves, one of the strongest desires of the human being, the passion to connect. Zion Ozeri's photography is responsible for a flood of narration arriving from the four corners of the Jewish universe. His camera and his vision reach out to our brethren, isolated and impoverished in more ways than one, and begins a conversation. One wonders if we, his audience, will be able to respond.

Manhattan Mincha Map

Written on April 04, 2005

Eagle Paper Minyan black & white photograph by Jaime Permuth

Fleeting Prayer
Manhattan Mincha Map: Photographs by Jaime Permuth

Mincha is the most fragile of prayers. It is typically caught on the run, sandwiched between a hurried lunch and return to the ordeals of the workday. Even if prayed somewhat leisurely after work in the late afternoon or early evening, it nonetheless must share the spotlight with the evening prayer that is ennobled by the awesome Shema. One might say mincha is the poor cousin of shacharis and the younger brother of maariv. It is in this context that Jaime Permuth's photographs at the Yeshiva University Museum explore the textures and atmosphere of what is easily the most naked prayer of the entire day, mincha.

Shalom Y'all
The Southern Jewish Experience, Photographs by Bill Aron, Text by Vicki Reikes Fox

Written on February 16, 2005

Avram Aizenman, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Photograph by Bill Aron

Imagining the tempting aroma of pecan pie and fresh challah the age-old rhythms of Southern Jewry unfold before our eyes in the seductively handsome exhibition of photographs, Shalom Y'all, currently at the Jewish Museum of Florida in Miami Beach. The show artfully fulfills the museum's fundamental mission of presenting exhibits of Florida Jewish life, past and present. The enormous Jewish community in southern Florida (625,000; 3rd largest Jewish community in the U.S.) is home to many who originated in southern states.

Frederic Brenner Photos

Written on October 30, 2004

Commemoration of Mourning for Deceased Son Whose Picture is on the Wall (1990) Oni, Georgia, U.S.S.R. Fiberbase gelatin silver print (19 x 16) by Frederic Brenner
Jews with Hogs (1994) is the first image one encounters in Frederic Brenner's exhibition of photographs of contemporary Jews from around the world currently at the Brooklyn Museum. In over one hundred and forty black and white photographs the exhibition seeks to document the “multiplicity of Jewish identities.” Throughout the exhibition diversity is the keyword. Diversity...hum.

Chanan Getraide Photos

Written on October 27, 2004

Bales of Wheat

Marking the Land of Israel:

Photographs of Chanan Getraide

What makes the Land of Israel so special? Given to us by God this wonderfully diverse corner of earth is much more of a “gift” than meets the eye. It is a gift that carries responsibility as an inheritance to be treasured even as it is trod upon, marked, possessed and inhabited by the Jewish people. The real meaning in the gift of the Land of Israel is in how the Jews use it. In the utility of the Holy Land we will become a holy people. The extraordinary photographs of Chanan Getraide in the “Promised Land” currently at the Hebrew Union College Museum evoke the material reality of the Jewish people on their Land.