My project about Jewish presence and absence in eastern Europe has evolved from personal biography to subjective documentary and consists of work created between 2004 and 2012. Over the course of these years, I traveled repeatedly to Poland and Ukraine to photograph Jewish life in the small remaining enclaves and larger communities that I found there. In Ukraine, the majority of my work was centered at the borderlands, the former Galicia, Poland and and Hungary, with some more recent work in Eastern Ukraine.
Although this photographic story invokes memory, grief, and loss, it also portrays strength and survival. Providing a unique perspective on what these communities look like today, it is a testament to the strength of the the spirit and how Jewish traditions and identity have endured and are continuing to evolve in Eastern Europe today.
During the first three years, I used mainly black and white film and printed in silver gelatin. The places I documented during this period were for the most part representative of loss and memory or evoked in me deep feelings of loss and grief. Later in the process, I began to use color, making the works vivid and highly saturated. They convey the tangible reality of place and provide a full palette of the region’s hues, offering the viewer a glimpse of the present.
And finally - I also printed a part of this project using the palladium process, creating contact prints from the original un- enlarged black-and-white negatives, printed on 11 in. x 15 in. paper. Some are single images and others are diptychs and triptychs, which tell little stories through a sequence of images. This photographic language in the multi and single frames, juxtaposed with the color and B&W works lends itself for a dialogue between past and present and allows for a wider look at a people and a culture. Being small scale - they are reminiscent of snapshots, and read as a family album.