web analytics
August 22, 2014 / 26 Av, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Home » Sections » Arts »

Two Jewish Views Of Photography


Wedding with a Chuppah Held Up by Rifles and Pitchforks (1952), photograph by David Seymour © Chim (David Seymour)/ Magnum Photos

Wedding with a Chuppah Held Up by Rifles and Pitchforks (1952), photograph by David Seymour © Chim (David Seymour)/ Magnum Photos

Exactly how Vishniac, a non-observant Jew, gained access to so many Hasidic homes, synagogues and houses of study is an open question. Generally these communities are suspicious of outsiders and some even consider photography a forbidden kind of graven image. Nonetheless, he managed to open many doors and gain the trust to capture an important slice of Jewish life. In Munkacs he records that he happened upon a man, a cantor, who became his guide.

Jewish Schoolchildren, Munkacs (1935-38) photograph by Roman Vishniac.  © Mara Vishniac Kohn. Courtesy International Center of Photography.

Jewish Schoolchildren, Munkacs (1935-38) photograph by Roman Vishniac. © Mara Vishniac Kohn. Courtesy International Center of Photography.

The image of Jewish Schoolchildren, Munkacs (1935-38), one of Vishniac’s most published, brims over with childish enthusiasm and curiosity, most probably due to the presence of the photographer himself. Yet the other narrative here of the clean-shaven man grasping the arm of the surprised yeshiva student echoes the kind of modern intrusion that the entire scene represents. It is a magical moment of revelation that only a highly sensitive eye could know how to capture.

Vishniac was an activist passionately dedicated to helping his fellow Jews by documenting to the outside world the terrors of living under Nazi rule. In October 1938 the SS deported 17,000 Polish Jews who had been living in Germany. They were herded to the Polish border and dumped in Zbaszyn and other border towns. Winter was approaching and conditions were terrible. Vishniac slipped into the town to document the conditions and then escaped back out to send his films to AJDC in Geneva to publicize the conditions.

Nettie Stub (1938) photograph by Roman Vishniac.  © Mara Vishniac Kohn. Courtesy International Center of Photography.

Nettie Stub (1938) photograph by Roman Vishniac . © Mara Vishniac Kohn. Courtesy International Center of Photography.

He took a tender photograph of 11 year old Nettie Stub peering out from a bunk bed that was widely broadcast by the Red Cross. Later that year the Red Cross arranged for her to be rescued and brought to Sweden to safety. As I was viewing the exhibition I was told that Nettie’s granddaughter had visited the show and confirmed that her 86-year-old grandmother was still living in the Bronx. There is no doubt that Vishniac’s image saved her life.

He subsequently documented Zionist youth training in 1939 Netherlands, Jewish refugees and displaced persons camps in 1947 Germany and France, the vast destruction of Berlin among many other subjects. In his final years he returned to his love of biology, becoming a pioneer in the field of microphotoscopy. Roman Vishniac was a remarkable photographer and this exhibition deepens and expands our understanding of his work. His combination of a passion for documentation and a finely tuned aesthetic eye mark him as a modern master, the vast corpus of whose work we are just beginning to understand.

About the Author: Richard McBee is a painter and writer on Jewish Art. Contact him at rmcbee@nyc.rr.com


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Two Jewish Views Of Photography”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
A member of Students for Justice in Palestine punched a pro-Israel student in the face at Temple University, Aug. 20, 2014. SJP claims the pro-Israel student provoked the incident.
Pro-’Palestine’ Students at Temple U Blame Victim for Altercation
Latest Sections Stories
(L-R) Rabbis Tzvi Mandel, Akiva Stolper, Meir Borovetz, Yochanan Ivri and Shlomo Rizel. (Not shown: Rabbi Shmaya Modes.)

A CPE class at Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center in Brooklyn was tailor made for Orthodox participants.

Lewis-081514-Anna-Ticho

“I didn’t choose the landscape; it chose me.”

Astaire-081514

Woe to us that we have to be put to death like common heathen and murderers!

The world sees the hand of God through us, and does not like it.

The Rebbetzin began campaigning to increase public awareness of the importance of saying Amen.

Some educators today believe that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder falls into an executive function category.

It’s ironic that the reality of death is often the greatest force steering the affirmation of life.

The theme of the event was “Together Let us Rebuild our Holy Beis HaMikdash on Tisha B’Av.”

Chaya Aydel Seminary has already established a close connection with France’s Jewish community.

All attendees left with fervent wishes for a swift and lasting peace in Israel.

How can awareness evolve from exploding stars?

More Articles from Richard McBee
Jerusalem to Jericho Road: photograph by Chanan Getraide
“Chanan Getraide Photographs”: 2004 exhibition at Hebrew Union College Museum

“We are living in a Golden Age of Jewish Art, but don’t know it.”

McBee-062014-Outside

He refuses to flinch from our painful history, perhaps finding a kind of solace in the consistency of irrational enmity directed against us.

“Vidduy: The Musical” breaks through the formidable barrier of repetitive confession to allow us to begin to understand what is at the heart of this fundamental religious act.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Silverstein’s work has long concerned itself with the intersection between the personal and Jewish Biblical narrative, significantly explored in this column in “Brighton Beach Bible” (July 27, 2009).

Not surprisingly the guardians of synagogue tradition is male dominated in both Moses Abraham, Cantor and Mohel and Synagogue Lamp Lighters.

Neither helpless victims nor able to escape the killer’s clutches, the leaders had to make impossible choices on a daily basis in a never-ending dance with the devil.

Bradford has opted to fully exploit the diverse possibilities of the physical surface by concentrating on the three-dimensional application of paint (impasto) and other material.

    Latest Poll

    Do you think the FAA ban on US flights to Israel is political?






    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/arts/two-jewish-views-of-photography/2013/04/12/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: