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Roman Vishniac Rediscovered

Thursday 25 October 2018Sunday 24 February 2019

Retrospective of Russian born American photographer Roman Vishniac (1897-1990) presented simultaneously at Jewish Museum London and The Photographers' Gallery, Vishniac is best known for having created one of the most widely recognised and reproduced photographic records of Jewish life in eastern Europe between the two World Wars. Featuring many of his most iconic works, this comprehensive exhibition further introduces recently discovered and lesser-known chapters of his photographic career from the early 1920s to the late 1970s. The exhibition presents radically diverse bodies of work and positions Vishniac as one of the most important social documentary photographers of the 20th century whose work also sits within a broader tradition of 1930s modernist photography.

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Keyword tags

Eastern Europe | Jewish history | photography | Roman Vishniac


Photographers' Gallery
16-18 Ramillies Street
London W1F 7LW

phone 020 7087 9300
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My piece in Roman Vishniac on today’s @guardian #g2 #artsandculture as truly amazing retrospective opens @thephotographersgallery and @jewishmuseumldn #london #romanvishniac #rediscovered More often, though, he caught the quotidian ebb and flow of the German capital, his ever-curious outsider’s eye picking out the tiny details that tell a bigger story – and one that was taking an increasingly ominous turn. In a photograph from 1935, a smartly dressed woman on a sunny street turns in mid-step to look over her shoulder as if called by someone just out of the frame. It is a curious image, a stilled moment that is both ordinary and, as one registers the background detail, foreboding. Just to the left of the girl walking behind her, a swastika flag hangs from a shop... Vishniac’s photographs of everyday Berlin in the early 30s are a rare portrait of a society in which ordinary life is giving way to a kind of normalised extremism in the lead-up to Nazi rule. They are one of the many revelations in an exhibition curated by American photography scholar Maya Benton, that is spread across two London spaces: the Photographers’ Gallery and the Jewish Museum. Culled from the extensive archive of Vishniac’s work, it is a radical reappraisal of a photographer who, since the publication in 1983 of his most famous book, A Vanished World, has been primarily known for his extensive documentation of life and culture in the shtetl (Jewish villages) of eastern Europe between 1935 and 1939, before the Holocaust. #berlin #jewishlife #before the #holocaust #normalisation of #extremism #neverforget

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