Poland in Photographs by Jewish Artists
The history of East European Jewry firmly connects Israeli, American and West-European Jews with Poland. David Ben Gurion, Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir; Alfred Tarski, Zygmunt Bauman, René Goscinny, Arthur Rubinstein, and Boris Kaufman–to name just a few–all have or had roots in Poland. But the Jewish history in Poland as it was before World War Two is over. Most Jews nowadays live in Israel and the USA; in Poland, merely a handful. So this book does not focus on Poland but, rather, on foreign Jewry’s attitude towards it. Being that, it is, after all, also a book about Poland, because it records the ways I, both a Jew and a Pole, see foreign Jews portray myself, my country, and non-Jewish Poles. In other words, I use images made by Jews to find out what Poland is to those Jews who do think about it (Poland is important to some, but not to all). I access relevant imagery through visual representation produced in contemporary Poland by professional western and Israeli Jewish photographers. The choice of professional over amateur photography is dictated by the need to find research material whose formal features do not result from stylistic and technical errors. To exclude photography driven by family narrative I choose as research material the work of photographers who do not have close family roots in Poland and who do not live and/or have not lived permanently in Poland.
Here I encounter the first problem: while giants of photography...
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