Portfolio 1: There Was a Forest: Jewish Life in Eastern Europe Today
Contemporary Judaism in Eastern Europe is a complex hybrid of lingering traditions and memories, a culture deeply influenced by the environment of post-war Soviet Ukraine and the relentless march of modernity.
For nearly a decade I have traveled continuously to Poland and Ukraine to photograph Jewish life and culture in this part of Eastern Europe. Research began with my own family’s history as survivors of the Holocaust and sought to study how the Second World War and post-Soviet era have impacted Jews currently living there. Jewish community, traditions, and identity are gradually transforming the communities there today: extinction in the remaining smaller enclaves and a slow growth in the larger communities.
Using digital color photographs to examine home life, religion and traditions, Jewish lives and rituals emerge as vibrant and colorful representations of struggle, identity, and strength. The vivid and highly saturated pigment prints convey the tangible reality of these places, representing the full palette of the region’s hues and offer a glimpse into the survival of a traditional Jewish community through present time.
Portfolio 2: Palladium
The palladium works were created in film, printed with the original 6×9 cm negatives; They resonate with past, absence, memory, history. All of which are a part of this subject. They work shows little stories, comprised of 1, 2 or 3 frames, which mimic stills and motion and a closer look at people beyond a single portrait. The print sizes are similar to snap shots, referring back to a timeless look at a people and a culture.
The two bodies of work inform one another to provide a comprehensive view of this cultural, social, political, and historical story.
Loli Kantor is a fine art and documentary photographer based in Fort Worth, Texas. Born in Paris, France, and raised in Tel Aviv, Israel and in Buffalo, NY.
Kantor’s long term project focuses on the re-emergence of Jewish life and culture in Central and Eastern Europe. As the daughter of Holocaust survivors, she brings a deeply personal interest, as well as unique sensibility to this body of work.
Kantor’s work has been exhibited widely in the United States and internationally in China, Poland, Ukraine, Spain and the Czech Republic. In 2010 she was named one of the top 50 photographers in PhotoLucida’s Critical Mass competition and won third place in the Reviewers’ Choice Award at PhotoNOLA. Her work was honored with an award of excellence for her solo exhibition in the 2009 Lishui International Photography Festival in Lishui, China. Her work has been featured in publications such as LensWork (issue no. 87) with an exclusive interview. An artist book for ‘ there was a forest ‘ was published in January 2009. A forthcoming publication by the University of Texas Press is due for release in fall 2014. Kantor’s photography is included in the collection of the Harry Ransome Center, Austin, the Museum of Fine Art, Houston, Lishui Photography Museum, China, Lviv National Museum, Ukraine, Drohobych museum Drohobych Ukraine, The Center for Fine Art Photography, Colorado, Temple Emanuel in Houston and private collections in the US and abroad.
A forthcoming Monograph entitled : Beyond The Forest ; Jewish Presence in Eastern Europe, 2004-2012, will be published by the University of Texas Press in Fall 2014, with an introduction by Anda Rottenberg and Afterward by Joseph Skibell .
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