Edited By Lucyna Aleksandrowicz-Pedich and Malgorzata Pakier
Empty Spaces. Representations of Poland and the Poles in ProfessionalJ ewish Photography from Western Europe and the USA. Joanna Auron-Górska
Empty Spaces. Representations of Poland and the Poles in Professional Jewish Photography from Western Europe and the USA Joanna Auron-Górska This analysis initiates an examination of the images of the Poles as constructed by Jewish artists. It is a case study of five sets of photographs taken in Poland by professional, contemporary Jewish photographers from western Europe and the USA. The images come from the 2003 album Diaspora-Homelands in Exile by a French-Jewish photographer Frédéric Brenner, the 2002 “Poland. Ausch- witz/Birkenau Concentration Camp” and the 2005 “Varsaw at Night” (sic!), hosted by the prestigious Magnum Agency website for a French-Jewish reporter Patrick Zachmann, and from the 1994 Czechoslovakia & Poland. Vestige of Ju- daïsm in Eastern Europe by a Jewish American Leonard Freed. The other two Jewish-American photographers are Jason Francisco, with Far From Zion, pub- lished in 2006, and Jeffrey Gusky, with his 2003 Silent Places. I approach pho- tographic image as an outcome of the photographer’s encounter with his object: in other words, I believe that images tell us more about how the photographer felt about the object than reveal the “nature” of the object. The photographs by Brenner and Zachmann, by Gusky and Francisco (but not by Freed) reveal that, in the encounter between the Jewish photographer and Poland, the focus falls not on Poland but on Jewish suffering during the Shoah. While, in the areas of research which lie outside depictions of Poland, Jew- ish themes tend to reveal differences between the European...
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