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The other photographers snapped their pictures of the pomp and circumstance surrounding the outgoing president as he boarded his helicopter, Marine One, officially marked “United States of America.” But Annie Leibovitz took a different approach to her photo of the 37th president – the only one to resign in office.
The book is a how-to guide of sorts for aspiring photographers, with a “Ten Most-Asked Questions” section at the end. The first question touches on Leibovitz’s advice to a young photographer. “I’ve said about a million times that the best thing a young photographer can do is to stay close to home,” Leibovitz answers. “Of course there are many good photographs that have nothing to do with staying close to home, and I guess what I’m really saying is that you should take pictures of something that has meaning to you.”
Leibovitz hints in the book to her Jewish heritage. She lived on a kibbutz in Israel in 1969 and studied Hebrew, and she covered the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 for Rolling Stone. In the book, Leibovitz remembers traveling through the war zone into Beirut with a writer and being very disturbed by the ways other photographers covered the war.
In an interview, Annie’s brother, Phil Leibovitz, who lives in Bethesda, Md., said that Annie’s religious identity actually does inform her work. The two grew up in Silver Spring, Md., on a street where half of the families were Orthodox, Phil estimated. The Young Israel, where Rabbi Gedaliah Anemer remains the rabbi, was on the same street.
One way that living in Silver Spring might have impacted Annie’s work, Phil said, was that one of her art teachers at Northwood High School told her she would never be an artist. “Maybe it was a motivator,” he said.
Several of the photographs in Leibovitz’s previous book, Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life: 1990-2000 feature her parents and family in Silver Spring. “My parents renewing their marriage vows, Washington, D.C.” (1992) shows the guests of honor sitting to the right, surrounded by family and friends in a ballroom. Annie’s father wears a kippa. In a later series, “Judean Memorial Gardens, Olney, Maryland” (February 6, 2005), Leibovitz photographed her father Samuel’s military funeral. Per the Jewish custom, mourners throw fistfuls of dirt over the grave.
It is hard to say whether photographs of kibbutz orchards, Jewish funerals, and Israeli politicians amount to Jewish art. There do not seem to be any direct quotes from Leibovitz about whether her Jewish identity – however she defines it – informs her photographs, or even a specific body of works. Even if there was such a quote, the artist does not necessarily get to have the final word, even on her own work. And yet, Leibovitz’s time on the kibbutz does seem to have impacted her in a meaningful way. It might not have shaped her photographic vision as much as Hunter Thompson or Tom Wolfe did, but perhaps enough, that Jewish viewers who seek Jewish content and themes in her work are not merely projecting.
Menachem Wecker welcomes comments at email@example.com. He is a painter and writer, and resides in Washington, D.C.
About the Author: Menachem Wecker, who blogs on faith and art for the Houston Chronicle at http://blogs.chron.com/iconia, welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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One minute you’re shaving shwarma off a pit, then the shwarma guy tells you he read a (fake) WhatsApp that the boys are dead.
I probe a little deeper and Shula takes me into the world of phantom pains and prosthetic limbs.
Shame is often confused with guilt and humiliation.
Because Menachem lives in Israel, he can feel the ruach in the air.
Perhaps you can reach a compromise during this news frenzy, whereby you will feel more comfortable while he can still follow the latest events.
Leon experienced the War of Independence from a soldier’s perspective, while remaining true to his Jewish ideals and beliefs.
Chabad of Arizona centers recently hosted an evening of remembrance to mark the 20th yahrzeit of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
A CPE class at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn was tailor made for Orthodox participants.
The exhibit, according to a statement from guest curator Michele Waalkes which is posted on the museum website, “examines how faith can inform and inspire artists in their work, whether their work is symbolic, pictorial, or textual in nature. It further explores how present-day artwork can lead audiences to ponder God, religious themes, venerated traditions, or spiritual insights.”
It all started at an art and education conference at the Yeshiva University Museum. When one of the speakers misidentified a Goya painting at the Frick Collection, both the gentleman sitting next to me and I turned to each other and corrected the error simultaneously.
One of my favorite places when I was growing up in Boston was the used bookstore on Beacon and St. Mary’s streets. Boston Book Annex could play a used bookshop on television; it was dimly lit and cavernous, crawling with cats, and packed with a dizzying array of books, many of which sold three for a dollar. But used bookstores of this sort, however picturesque and inviting, are a relatively modern phenomena. In the Middle Ages, for example, I would never have been able to afford even a single used book unless I had been born into an aristocratic family. (Full disclosure, I was not.)
Jewish medals, several with Hebrew inscriptions and provocative imagery, were among the gems at The European Art Fair (TEFAF) in Maastricht, Netherlands, as I wrote in these pages two weeks ago. Another mini-trend at the fair, which will interest Jewish art aficionados, was an abundance of works by Marc Chagall.
It’s virtually impossible to ignore the financial aspects of TEFAF Maastricht, the annual arts and antiques fair in the historic city about two hours south of Amsterdam. More than 250 dealers from nearly 20 countries sell their wares—which span from Greek and Roman antiquities to contemporary sculptures—in the halls of the Maastricht Exhibition and Congress Centre, whose corridors are adorned by nearly 65,000 tulips.
Max Ferguson’s 1993 painting Katz’s may be the second most iconic representation of the kosher-style delicatessen after the 1989 Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan film, When Harry Met Sally. Ferguson’s photorealistic painting depicts the deli from an interesting perspective, which is simultaneously inviting and hostile—in short, the dichotomy of deli culture.
The whole idea of an artful pushka (tzeddakah or charity box) is almost a tease, if not an outright mockery. Isn’t there something pretty backward about investing time and money in an ornate container to hold alms for the poor?
Located about nine miles north of Madrid, the Palacio Real de El Pardo (Pardo Palace) dates back to the early 15th century. Devastated by a March 13, 1604 fire that claimed many works from its priceless art collection, the Pardo Palace and its vast gardens were used as a hunting ground by the Spanish monarchs.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/are-there-jewish-aspects-to-annie-leibovitzs-photographs/2009/02/04/
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