Life Before the Holocaust: Portraits of Character
... a series of photographic portraits (105 in total) celebrating identity and personality that aims to defrost the freeze-frame of history within which Holocaust survivors are invariably portrayed. Each portrait is captioned with the individual's name, year and place of birth, year of settlement in their country of current residence, and a brief quotation which contextualizes the object(s) he or she is displaying.
No one should be defined by the worst thing that happened in his or her life particularly when that thing was not of their choosing or fault. By showcasing an object, each person reveals a physical representation of a layer of their life while making a visual offering to viewers. These objects speak to joys, successes and memories that weave a life together. More specifically, they visually articulate careers, hobbies, interests, family, fashions and memories. The buoyant moments these survivors have lived is the harshest repudiation of the Nazi regime one could imagine.
By photographing these extraordinary people with a focus on a single layer of their identity apart from the context of the Holocaust, these portraits offer a fresh view of who they are and a measure of how they wish to be known and remembered.
This project commenced in November 2017 and will remain indefinitely open-ended.
IN SEARCH OF SURVIVORS. If you or someone you know is a survivor and would like to be photographed for this project, please CONTACT me. To host an exhibition and/or presentation on this project, please CONTACT me.
... easily my biggest, most ambitious project ever. Somehow, I pulled it off without much difficulty. Mostly it demanded organization and determination. But few meaningful obstacles really held me back nor limited my initial vision for the project. While the photo stages came to a close in April 2016, Jewish Africa is now in post-production -- photo shows, presentations, and hopefully, a book. As such, for the time being, Jewish Africa is still very much the current project at HaChayim HaYehudim Jewish Photo Library.
JEWISH AFRICA PHOTO EXHIBITIONS (Click HERE for details.)
- The Cape Town Holocaust Centre, Cape Town, South Africa. (September 6~October 28, 2018)
- The Durban Holocaust & Genocide Centre, Durban, South Africa. July/August 2018.
- The Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre, Johannesburg, South Africa. March 27~April 29, 2018
- The Mittleman Jewish Community Center of Portland, Oregon, USA. October 2 ~ December 29, 2017
- Gallery at the J, Shalom Austin. Austin, Texas, USA. September 11 ~ October 16, 2017
- The Beit Hatfutsot Museum (The Museum of the Jewish People), Tel Aviv, Israel: February 4, 2016 ~ June 1, 2017
- Goldman Gallery, Bender JCC of Greater Washington, Rockville, Maryland: March 9 ~ March 28, 2017
- The Irish Jewish Museum, Dublin, Ireland: July 6 ~ September 30, 2015
Other photo shows to be announced. CONTACT if you are interested in bringing a Jewish Africa photo show near you.