It was a short trip of only five days in April when my friends Marla, Jay, Vasyl, Alex and I traveled in Lviv and Ternopil region in Galicia, Ukraine. An intense trip to explore what is left of the Jewish heritage. As always I had two cameras with me – a digital one for colour photographs and an analogue one for black and white. Analogue photography is a slow business, but finally here is now a selection of what I got: synagogues and Jewish cemeteries in the towns of Berezhany, Budaniv, Drohobych, Husiatyn, Korolivka, Monastyryska, Pidhaitsi and Sataniv.
Since May 7, Stillpoint Spaces in Berlin’s district Neukölln hosts an exhibition of my analogue black and white photos. They document Jewish heritage sites in Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Poland. The exhibition will be accessible until end of July. If you are around, come in!
I traveled in Ukraine in December, visited Berlin’s Weißensee Jewish cemetery in January, have been to Warsaw and its neighbouring towns of Karczew and Otwock in February. Finally, I had time to edit some of the analogue black and whites from these trips. Here they are…
So far, I exclusively exhibited black and white photos. For the first time, the show in Auferstehungskirche in Berlin’s district Friedrichshain assembles some of my colour photos. Places do not only have a past, they also have a present. Colour photography may express this better.
After working a lot on my colour photos I finally found time to return to the analogue black and whites. Here is a selection of images I took in August during the trip to Ukraine and Moldova. Represented are Jewish cemeteries in Chişinău (Kishinev), Orhei and Vadul-Raşcov (Vadul Rashkov) in Bessarabia/Moldova, cemeteries in Rîbniţa (Rybnitsa) and Raşcov (Rashkov) in the break away “state” of Transnistria, as well as the former synagogue of Sniatyn in Galicia, Ukraine.
Hanukkah and Christmas are coming closer – a time of gifts in which I would like to give a present to all who accompanied my trips through Eastern Europe’s Jewish past and present. A calendar for 2017 with some of my photos is out now for free download. You may produce it on your own printer or at an on-line store of your choice. The calendar consits of photos from Jewish heritage sites in Ukraine, Moldova, Poland and Romania. Enjoy and have a great 2017!
Vadul-Raşcov (Vadul-Rashkov) in Bessarabia is one of the most impressive Jewish cemeteries I have ever seen. There are a few hundred, if not a few thousand gravestones, located on a hill sloping to the banks of river Dniester. This is borderland – in many aspects.
My first photo exhibitions about the Jewish heritage in Eastern Europe consisted of black and white images. To me black and white is connected to memory and commemoration – maybe because the photos of my childhood are in black and white, but also because most of the historical material preserved is in black and white. My interest in colour photography rose when I understood that heritage sites not only have a past, but also have a present. Synagogues are part of present urban space, a trace of a mezuzah is still visible, farmers let their animals graze in old cemeteries. But also absence is part of the present: cemeteries became markets, whole towns vanished. Having a good part of work already done, it’s a good moment to reflect some of the topics of the new exhibition, which will be shown by the end of January next year for the first time.
A last goodbye to the volunteers, who clear the Jewish cemetery of Chernivtsi (Czernowitz). A last farewell to Bukovina and its capital. In the afternoon Sylvia and I took the train from Chernivtsi to Lviv. For five and a half hours we watched the beautiful Galician landscape rolling by. Now we are in Lviv – exhausted but happy – and wait for a very last excursion tomorrow.
The work of the past few weeks has come to a temporary end. Here are the last of the analog black and white photos of the trip to Bessarabia/Moldova in March and April. Among them are images of Jewish cemeteries in Briceni, Lipcani and Vadul-Raşcov (Vadul Rashkov). While it is the quality of stone carvings that is impressing in Lipcani, it is the unique combination of the cemetery and the environment at river Dniester in Vadul-Raşcov.
Now I have to decide which images I want to rework and print for future exhibitions. Not an easy decision. What are your favorites?