PHOTOGRAPHER FOCUSES ON ‘OVERLOOKED’, VANISHING JEWISH COMMUNITIES, INCLUDING CUBA’S

Samuel the Butcher La Habana Vieja Cuba

A post by Peter Jordens.

Danielle Berrin reports for Jewish Journal that New York-based photographer Chrystie Sherman has spent the past 16 years traveling the world to document what is left of once-thriving Jewish communities from the Caribbean to North Africa to Central Asia. Her resulting gallery, Home in Another Place, is a collection of nearly 300 portraits that capture everyday life in Jewish communities least touched by globalization, where life is still lived in small towns and cities, agrarian suburbs and old, decaying buildings.

Challah Santiago de Cuba

Since 2002, Sherman has focused her lens on what she describes as ‘overlooked’ Jewish communities in nearly a dozen countries, including Uzbekistan, India, Greece, Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco and Cuba, many of whose residents trace their roots into ancient Babylonia and Persia, and whose personal histories of persecution mirror the global story of Jewish exile in the Diaspora. Sherman’s work has been exhibited in New York, Rome, Philadelphia and Washington, DC, and she is at work on a book that was waitlisted at the prestigious German publishing house Steidl.

Mixed Marriage Santiago de Cuba

The subtext of Sherman’s portraits is painful: Not one of these communities is growing, but they are surviving, and Sherman’s photographs suggest that the secret behind their survival is at least, in part, a stubborn drive to cling to tradition […].

Potato Peelers La Habana Vieja Cuba

Her portraits […] evoke a raw, emotional realism. It’s as if her subjects know that they’re fighting against the inevitability of time and history, standing as the last living monuments of a bygone age. “I think they all realize what’s going on and they’re very saddened by it,” Sherman said of the communities she visited. “It was good when everybody was together; generations of Jews living in one place, eating together and praying together.”

Minyan La Habana Cuba

Sherman doesn’t date her photographs, she said, because she wants them to stand as testaments of timelessness. Even though the physical communities may decline and fade away, there is something eternal in the way they lived their lives.

The complete, original article is available at http://jewishjournal.com/news/los_angeles/community/234180/photographer-trains-eye-vanishing-jewish-communities.

The above photos, from Chrystie Sherman’s Home in Another Place collection which can be sampled at http://www.chrystiesherman.com/home-in-another-place-gallery/2016/3/4/2h57wbzn7otntdeqcdbovkqcfupb6u, were taken in La Habana, La Habana Vieja, and Santiago de Cuba.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s