Archive for the 'Roman Vishniac' Category

19
Sep
10

Exhibition: ‘Timelines: Photography and Time’ at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 7th May – 3rd October 2010

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Many thankx to Alison Murray and the National Gallery of Victoria for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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Felice Beato
Italian/English 1832–1909, worked throughout Europe and Asia 1853–90
Stillfried and Anderson and the Japan Photographic Association (studio)
Japanese 1877–85
No title (Maiko)
1866–68, printed 1877–85
albumen silver photograph, coloured dyes
24.4 x 19.6 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased through the NGV Foundation with the assistance of The Herald & Weekly Times Limited, Fellow, 2001

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Ruth Maddison
Australian 1945–
Molly O’Sullivan, 82
1990
from the After work series 1990
gelatin silver photograph, oil paint, fibre-tipped pen
24.8 x 20.6 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased through The Art Foundation of Victoria with the assistance of the Hugh Williamson Foundation, Founder Benefactor, 1990
© Ruth Maddison

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“Opening 7 May, the National Gallery of Victoria will present Timelines: Photography and Time, a captivating exhibition exploring the notion of time in photographs.

Time is a slippery notion. It is everywhere and always moving but this powerful regulating force cannot be seen. It is only apparent in context: in the changing seasons, in another wrinkle on our faces, in the growth of children. Photography has a unique role to play in our sometimes poignant sense of time passing. The camera’s ability to depict ‘a moment in time’ – to stop the clock for a brief moment – gives photographs a unique capacity to direct our consideration towards the mechanics and poetics of this pervasive and mysterious cosmic force.

In this exhibition one aspect of time is considered from a photographic perspective: namely, human life. Works have been selected from the permanent collection both by International and Australian photographers that show an interest in some aspect of lifecycles. Arranged, in part, in a ‘timeline’, these works provoke our understanding of the mediums capacity to suggest the concept of time in ways that may be surprising, moving or even confronting. The exhibition also looks at how photographers have extended a sense of time and duration through images that work in series

Timelines will feature almost forty photographs from the NGV Collection by both Australian and international photographers including work by Diane Arbus, Micky Allan and Bill Brandt.

Isobel Crombie, Senior Curator of Photography, NGV said photography has a unique role to play in capturing the way that time passes.

“The camera’s ability to ‘stop the clock’ enables the medium to direct our consideration towards the mechanics and poetics of this pervasive and mysterious cosmic force.

“The instant that the photograph captures can be a potent reminder to seize the day rather than dreaming about the past or worrying about the future,” said Dr Crombie.

The exhibition also looks at how photographers have extended a sense of time and duration through images that work in series. From the 1960s onwards, photographers began experimenting with stretching time by creating a series or sequence of photographs.

This is seen in Rod McNicol’s powerful series titled A portrait revisited (1986–2006), (pictured Jack, below). Purchased by the NGV in 2009, the series features portraits of men and women; each posed directly facing the camera against a plain backdrop. There are two portraits of each subject photographed twenty years apart, inviting the viewer to compare the portraits to see how time has changed them. The sense of time passing is highlighted with the portrait of Peter, who is photographed only once. The blank image next to him is a reminder that he died before the second portrait was made.

Each phase of human existence has characteristic traits and features, and photographers have worked with these qualities in ways that evoke the passing of time and our place in this cycle. Arranged in part in a human timeline, the exhibition begins with the start of a new life as depicted in Christine Godden’s Joanie pregnant (1972) and Joanie with Jade (1973) and concludes with Kusakabe Kimbei’s Ritual washing for a funeral (c.1880), an image of a deceased man being prepared in the traditional Japanese way for burial. This final scene captures the grief of the moment when a lifetime ends.

Frances Lindsay, Deputy Director, NGV said: “The works in the exhibition show how artists have explored the concept of time in ways that may surprise, move or even confront viewers. This exhibition provides visitors with a special opportunity to view this remarkable collection of photographs from the NGV Collection, many of which are on display for the first time.”

Timelines will include photographs by Micky Allan, Diane Arbus, Felice Beato, Bill Brandt, Brassaï, Harry Callahan, Imogen Cunningham, Walker Evans, Christine Godden, Ponch Hawkes, Petrina Hicks, Lewis Hine, Kusakabe Kimbei, Rosemary Laing, J.H. Lartigue, Ruth Maddison, Rod McNicol, David Moore, Jan Saudek, John Thompson, Roman Vishniac, and Edward Weston.”

Text from the National Gallery of Victoria International website

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Rosemary Laing
Australian 1959–
a dozen useless actions for grieving blondes #10
2009
type C photograph
76.3 x 132.1 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, Victorian Foundation for Living Australian Artists, 2010
© Rosemary Laing and Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne

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Rod McNicol
Australian 1946–
Jack
2006
from the A portrait revisited series 1986–2006
digital type C print
48.0 x 67.1 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, Victorian Foundation for Living Australian Artists, 2009
© Rod McNicol

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Ponch Hawkes
Australian 1946–
The watch that Lucy gave to Beci
1987, printed 1989
gelatin silver photograph
23.8 x 35.1 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased with funds donated by Hallmark Cards Australia Pty Ltd, 1989
© Ponch Hawkes

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David Moore
Australian 1927–2003
Outback children, South Australia
1963
gelatin silver photograph
36.8 x 57.6 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased through the KODAK (Australasia) Pty Ltd Fund, 1969
© David Moore Estate

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NGV International
180 St Kilda Road

Opening hours
10am – 5pm. Closed Tuesdays.

National Gallery of Victoria website

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08
Apr
09

Jeff Gusky photographs from the exhibition ‘Of Life and Loss: The Polish Photographs of Roman Vishniac and Jeffrey Gusky’ at The Detroit Institute of Arts

Exhibition dates: 15th April – 12th July, 2009

 

As promised photographs by Jeff Gusky from the exhibition ‘Of Life and Loss: The Polish Photographs of Roman Vishniac and Jeffrey Gusky’. Many thanks to Jeff for making them available to me. I have tried to form a small narrative from some of the photographs that Jeff sent me, like a piece of music. The flow through passageways and doorways forming rivers of light and dark ends in the ascending stairs that hold the possibility of deliverance and redemption. The image is reminiscent of photographs by Eugene Atget.

The most beautiful video (see below) is entirely appropriate for this post: Gorecki Symphony No. 3 “Sorrowful Songs” – Lento e Largo.

M Bunyan

 

Jeff Gusky. 'Corridor in Kazimierz (Former Jewish District)' Cracow, Poland 1996

 

Jeff Gusky
‘Corridor in Kazimierz (Former Jewish District)’
Cracow, Poland 1996

 

Jeff Gusky. 'Former Jewish Home in Use as a Public Toilet' Dzialoszyce, Poland 1996

 

Jeff Gusky
‘Former Jewish Home in Use as a Public Toilet’
Dzialoszyce, Poland 1996

 

Jeff Gusky. 'Desecrated Synagogue and Jewish School' Dzialoszyce, Poland 1999

 

Jeff Gusky
‘Desecrated Synagogue and Jewish School’
Dzialoszyce, Poland 1999

 

Jeff Gusky. 'Lublin Corridor #1' Lublin, Poland 1999

 

Jeff Gusky
‘Lublin Corridor #1′
Lublin, Poland 1999

 

Jeff Gusky. 'Birkenau Silhouette' Auschwitz, Poland 1996

 

Jeff Gusky
‘Birkenau Silhouette’
Auschwitz, Poland 1996

 

Jeff Gusky. 'Where They Lived #4' Cracow, Poland 2001

 

Jeff Gusky
‘Where They Lived #4′
Cracow, Poland 2001

 

 

 

 

Detroit Institute of Arts

5200 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48202
Main Line: 313.833.7900
Weekend Hotline: 313.833.7530
TDD: 313.833.1454

Detroit Institute of the Arts website

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06
Apr
09

Exhibition: ‘Of Life and Loss: The Polish Photographs of Roman Vishniac and Jeffrey Gusky’ at The Detroit Institute of Arts

Exhibition dates: April 15 – July 12, 2009

 

Hardly any photographs by Jeffrey Gusky online but he has provided some via email. I will post them asap. Thankyou very much Jeff for contacting me. I didn’t know much about the photographer Roman Vishniac but after more research I am so glad I do now. What a photographer!

Just look at the image below to see a masterpiece of classical photography. Look at the space between the figures, the tension almost palpable, the look on the granddaughters face and the wringing of her hands a portent of the despair to come. A good archive of his photographs is on the International Center of Photography website.

 

Roman Vishniac. 'Grandfather and granddaugther' Lublin, 1937

 

Roman Vishniac
‘Grandfather and granddaugther’
Lublin, 1937

 

“This exhibition, organized by the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, includes around 90 black-and-white photographs taken by two photographers: Roman Vishniac, who photographed throughout Poland’s Jewish communities in the mid-1930s, and Jeffrey Gusky who photographed many of the same Polish sites during the 1990s. 

In 1935, Russian-born photographer Roman Vishniac was commissioned by the American Joint Distribution Committee (a Paris-based relief agency) to photograph Jewish communities in the cities and villages of Poland as well as other areas of Eastern Europe. He took over 16,000 photographs (around 2,000 have survived) depicting the people, life, homes, schools, and trades of these communities. The photographs, in turn, were to be used to help raise money for humanitarian aid for individuals in areas that were becoming increasingly destitute. 

In 1996, Jeffrey Gusky, an amateur photographer and doctor of Russian-Jewish descent set out on a personal journey in search of Jewish identity and culture in Eastern Europe. He made the first of four trips to Poland where he traveled to cities and villages where Jews had lived and worked for centuries. Gusky photographed what remained of Jewish culture in Poland focusing on the ruins of synagogues, cemeteries—many of which were desecrated, and the empty and still streets.”

Text from the Detroit Institute of Arts website

 

Roman Vishniac. 'Isaac Street, Kazimierz, Cracow' nd

 

Roman Vishniac
‘Isaac Street, Kazimierz, Cracow’
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Roman Vishniac. 'A street of Kazimierz, Cracow' nd

 

Roman Vishniac
‘A street of Kazimierz, Cracow’
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“Examining each photographer separately, Vishniac and Gusky have very distinctive photographic styles. Due to the nature of his project and the ever-escalating semblance of anti-semitism, Vishniac’s photographs are less polished and more emotionally raw in an attempt to tell the stories of people’s individual lives. By contrast, Gusky finds inspiration in the physical places which made up the world of now entirely absent communities of Jews.

While each photographer had an individual style and statement to make, it is both the relationship with and stark difference between the two that provides the greatest emotional poignancy. The exhibition pairs many Vishniac and Gusky photographs, illuminating the individual lives lost, culture destroyed, and environments degraded by decades of neglect in Poland, as Gusky photographed the desecrated cemeteries, crumbling synagogues, and empty streets that served as the backdrop for Vishniac’s scenes of mid-century Jewish life.

There are also several points of convergence in the biographies of Vishniac and Gusky.  Like Vishniac, Gusky is of Russian Jewish descent, and both men were compelled to their photographic projects in part by personal reasons springing from their Jewish heritage. The photographers also have professional ties to biological science which embody their work through illustration of the fragility of human life.” 

Text from the Santa Barbara Museum website

 

Jeffrey Gusky. 'Broken stained glass window, Wielkie, Oczy' 2001

 

Jeffrey Gusky
‘Broken stained glass window, Wielkie, Oczy’
2001

 

Roman Vishniac. 'A Boy with a toothache. Next year another child will inherit the tattered schoolbook. Slonim' ca 1935-38

 

Roman Vishniac
‘A Boy with a toothache. Next year another child will inherit the tattered schoolbook. Slonim’
ca. 1935-38

 

“Vishniac was born in Russia, and fled to Berlin with his family in 1920. He worked as a biologist and supplemented his income as a photographer. Eventually he became compelled to use photography to document people and communities throughout Europe. In the 1930s Vishniac was commissioned by the Joint Distribution Committee, a Paris-based relief agency, to photograph Jewish life in Poland, where he took over 16,000 photographs (only 2,000 survived the war) over a three-year period. He photographed vibrant communities filled with people in their homes and schools, at their trades and in their streets, markets and temples. His poignant works are evidence of communities filled with life despite the lack of food, medical care and livelihood that prevailed. 

Gusky is a physician in rural Texas who began photographing as a way to explore Jewish identity. Although a Jew of Russian decent, he became interested in the history of Jews in Poland after hearing a radio interview with Ruth Ellen Gruber, an American journalist who documented the ruins of Jewish communities in Eastern Europe. His photographs depict the vacant and somber sites of once-thriving Jewish communities throughout the country. With these images, Gusky reveals a powerful, dramatic message about a lost culture that was once part of Poland’s Jewish past. This initial photographic work has led him to further examine “the void of modern life,” and the threat of genocide that continues to haunt humankind of all ethnicities and cultures in the past and present.”

Text from the Artdaily.org website

 

Roman Vishniac. 'Boys and Books' 1935-38

 

Roman Vishniac
‘Boys and Books’
ca. 1935-38

 

Roman Vishniac. 'Children at Play, Bratislava' ca. 1935-38

 

Roman Vishniac
‘Children at Play, Bratislava’
ca. 1935-38

 

The above photograph reminds me of the Henri Cartier-Bresson photograph below.

 

Henri Cartier-Bresson. 'Children in Seville' 1933

 

Henri Cartier-Bresson
‘Children in Seville’
1933

 

 

Detroit Institute of Arts
5200 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48202
Main Line: 313.833.7900
Weekend Hotline: 313.833.7530
TDD: 313.833.1454

Detroit Institute of the Arts website

International Center of Photography website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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