Item description for Silent Places: Landscapes of Jewish Life and Loss in Eastern Europe by Jeff Gusky...
Overview A former doctor of emergency medicine and self-taught photographer recounts his four journeys to Poland, during which he visited remote villages once inhabited by pre-Holocaust Jewish citizens and photographed such sites as Jewish cemeteries, synagogue ruins, and decimated former Jewish homes.
Publishers Description Jeff Gusky, a doctor of emergency medicine, decided at the age of 42 that he wanted to better confront the reality of modern Jewish history. A self-taught photographer who subsequently learned to make museum quality prints, he bought what he calls "a good, journalist-type camera and some lenses" and traveled to Poland-once the home of the largest concentration of Diaspora Jews. He read the instruction manuals on the plane en route. Over four trips, accompanied each time by a top Polish guide, Gusky traveled through the country, beyond the city ghettos and the sites of concentration camps, into remote villages where Jews had lived and worked for almost 1,000 years before the Holocaust-capturing on film the austere landscapes and the remains of a once thriving Jewish culture. The silence is deafening: here are Jewish cemeteries full of broken gravestones, ruined synagogues filled with trash and disfigured with graffiti, a Jewish home now used as a public toilet-"where people lived, walked, worshipped, and were, ultimately, exterminated," says Gusky. The doleful, understated clarity of what he saw and photographed captures a poignant sense of loss-making at the same time an indelible connection to the past.
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Studio: Overlook Hardcover
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 10.28" Width: 9.84" Height: 0.93" Weight: 2.95 lbs.
Release Date Oct 1, 2003
Publisher Overlook Hardcover
ISBN 1585673161 ISBN13 9781585673162
Reviews - What do customers think about Silent Places: Landscapes of Jewish Life and Loss in Eastern Europe?
Deafening Silence Jun 18, 2006
Silent Places, by Jeff Gusky, takes us on a poignant, and incredible photographic journey to Eastern Europe, where he documented (in B&W photographs) the architecture and landscape of the Holocaust era...Synagogues, houses, landscapes, windows, doors, parks, all images from the past, but actually taken recently. The B&W aspect gives a ghost-like and haunting composition to the photographs...the aura of life within the frame illuminating our senses.
Time erodes the landscape, and even the architecture, but the sense of humanity and life still exist within the confines. We feel the aura of the past, brought into the present, the sounds of silence and former life, and activity resounding, for all of us to view. The ghosts of the past, sing their song, through broken windows, deteriorating doors, ruined homes, leaving an indelible mark in the time continuum, compelling us to wonder WHY?
Gusky's book is a a work of brilliance, one that we soon not forget, a book both compelling and haunting. It is a historical journey into the depths of loss, destruction and places that once hummed with Jewish life.
It matters not what our beliefs are, because we are all one underneath the sun, the umbrella of life on the planet. The history defined within the illuminations of this book define us all on some scale. We all have history, all have ancestral pasts, villages and cities of life, that run through our genetics. Time erodes much of our past, our life's history...and in that aspect...this book gives us to ponder and realize, that each person's history is a part of the universal whole.
Silent Places to Contemplate Loss of Life and Community Nov 28, 2003
The somber and quiet images in this book appear to be from the past, but were photographed within the last few years. This unique book offers views of Jewish communities depopulated by the Holocaust and left today much as they were after WWII. Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe left many of these areas undeveloped and frozen in time.
The images in this book are artistically composed and printed with great attention to detail. Viewing the large printed images give one of the feeling of standing in the place itself. I strongly recommend this book as one of permanent importance. With the rapid changes now underway in the area, it may also be the look we have at the communities that made up such an important part of the cultural fabric of Eastern European life prior to WWII.