ICP features two photojournalists whose work focuses on war, aftermath

The intersecting narratives behind the current exhibitions at the International Center of Photography include some of the darkest moments of the 20th Century. They include images of cities in ruin, refugees and orphans, and storefronts spewing anti-Jewish propaganda. Most of the photographs feature ordinary people, especially children. Running through May 5, “We Went Back: Photographs from Europe 1933-1956 by Chim” and “Roman Vishniac Rediscovered,” present the life’s work of two photojournalists whose works pulse with life even as they edge closest to death.


Vishniac and Chim’s work overlap in both content and goals. Chim, a political photographer, at times collaborated with propaganda offices to further his own political passions. From 1935-1938, Vishniac exposed the hardships of European Jews to attract funding for a prominent Jewish relief organization. Their work is linked by a spirit of advocacy. “The overlapping point is Warsaw,” said Maya Benton, curator of “Roman Vishniac Rediscovered.”

“Chim was born in Warsaw — his father owned a Yiddish and Hebrew printing press there, and he was very much of the world that Vishniac photographed.” Vishniac initially documented lives like Chim’s to attract philanthropy, and the work only later came to be seen as a record of an annihilated people. Vishniac’s post-war work is more conscious testimony of destruction, depicting scenes of Berlin reduced to rubble and Passover at displaced person camps. One camp Vishniac photographed even held Benton’s own mother. Growing up, she spoke Yiddish at home and remembers always being aware of Vishniac’s work. “For me, this is a very personal project.”

Chim’s work also lingers on rebuilding lives in the post-war period. Several portraits of war orphans came out of a 1948 trip funded by UNESCO. A startling color photo, “Children Playing on Omaha Beach,” shows four kids next to a half-buried wartime freighter ship at the site of the D-Day landing three years before. It is one of curator Cynthia Young’s favorites. It was buried in a collection of about 3000 negatives donated by a distant cousin of Chim’s. Several additional relatives of both Chim and Vishniac contributed to each exhibit.

The collections don’t stop at photographic prints — negatives, and newspaper and magazine clippings are also displayed. Preserving these items can be expensive — they require space, and are sensitive to light and humidity. “I think it’s so brave for a museum to defend ephemera,” Benton said. “It costs a fortune to keep them, but from the very beginning, ICP has recognized the value of a photographers’ archive.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

U.S. Soccer

Orlando City takes shot at NYCFC over Frank…

Orlando City reminded the world how big a signing Brazilian star Kaka earlier this month with a photo of Kaka mobbed by fans juxtaposed against Lampard.

NBA

Jeremy Lin says 'Linsanity' is over as he…

Jeremy Lin lit up the NBA two years ago with his play for the Knicks but he has no desire to recreate "Linsanity" in his new career with the Lakers.

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.