Jewish Engagement in Photography
Although there was a vast Jewish presence amongst Jewish photographers of the avant-garde, these photographers in Europe from about the 1920’s to the third part of the 20th century rarely photographed direct Jewish themes. In many cases, such as in the U.S.A., they replaced their focus on other minorities. In the lecture Prof. Haim Finkelstein will address these issues on the political and poetic levels. Jewish-American photographers’ identification with the African-Americans through the lens of the camera in their fight for the Civil Rights Movement (1960’s) will be discussed, exemplified by the photographs of Robert Frank, Helen Levitt, Jerome Liebling and Aaron Siskind.
The poetic and innovative, refined, sensitive photographs and the shadow images of the avant-garde Hungarian-born André Kertész representing his inner struggle with the shadowy Jewish aspects of his European identity will also be addressed. This will be seen in connection with his passage from Budapest via Paris and as a refugee in New York where he remained a prolific photographer but a misunderstood loner.