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  1. #21
    jd callow's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrPablo View Post
    I almost have ideas of taking pictures (very colorful ones) of mundane, unrelated things. Trees, or flowers, or something; with the walls and fences and railroad tracks just very vague in the background, out of focus. Something that emphasizes life, or something that emphasizes the unremarkable, in the vague context of the camps' decay. That feels more right to me than 'documentary' type shots, or the chilling, archetypal view of the railroad tracks passing underneath the gate at Birkenau.

    If that makes any sense...
    I think this is a great idea.

    *

  2. #22
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    Dr. Pablo,
    Having lived for a year in Munich, and vowing NOT to visit Dachau, it came about that I ended up driving some people out there and decided to go through the exhibits and the remaining complex.

    I chose not to take a camera, feeling it would be an afront to take pictures or even to try to do serious photography in such a place. Almost forty years later, I do not regret the decision.

    Anscojohn, Mount Vernon, Virginia USA

  3. #23
    jd callow's Avatar
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    Anscojohn,
    Am I correct in assuming that the afront is a personal thing and not something you assign to others who take pictures there?

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  4. #24

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    I relate considerably to your predicament. My grandparents from my Mother's side are both from Chenstechov (sp?) and I know at least my Grandmother spent time both in Lodz and Auschwitz. Neither of my parents knew their grandparents, who were all killed in the war. I have yet to visit over there, and my two remaining grandparents do not speak of it at all, but when I do visit I will bring my camera, but leave it in the hotel room. If the visits move me to photograph, I will return to them with the camera. I feel this solves the issue of using the camera to detach myself from the situation, and also allows me to record how I see the area. In a way I feel as if it would be my responsibility as a photographer to bring the images back for those of my family who would not be there, especially considering the advancing age and declining health of my remaining 2 grandparents.

    - Justin

  5. #25
    DrPablo's Avatar
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    Thanks to all who have contributed so far. I think the idea of having the camera by my side, just in case, is reasonable. But I can imagine never taking it out of the bag. I think photos can be very meaningful, but my kids won't need photos to assimilate this story -- they'll know.

    What's sad is how it disappears from some families, though. A family that had been friends with my father's family in Hungary immigrated to Quebec in 1956, and they converted to Catholocism. And their grandchildren, who are my age, were never raised with any kind of reference to their Jewish ancestry and never learned about what happened to their grandparents during the war. I've asked them about it, and they just don't identify with it at all. It's too bad -- because I think the power of that era for humanity will be best passed down through the memories in families, especially as it gets more distant and there are fewer survivors remaining.

    Quote Originally Posted by k_jupiter View Post
    The only camp I have been to is Dachau. I took my parents there in the 1980.
    My paternal grandmother was liberated from there after surviving the selection at Auschwitz. I can imagine visiting that as well if I'm ever in the area, as well as Bergen-Belsen where my mom's parents were liberated. A lot of those sites don't exist anymore, like a lot of the smaller forced labor camps in Poland and Hungary where my grandparents spent some of the war.
    Paul

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafeharrar View Post
    I relate considerably to your predicament. My grandparents from my Mother's side are both from Chenstechov (sp?) and I know at least my Grandmother spent time both in Lodz and Auschwitz. Neither of my parents knew their grandparents, who were all killed in the war. I have yet to visit over there, and my two remaining grandparents do not speak of it at all, but when I do visit I will bring my camera, but leave it in the hotel room. If the visits move me to photograph, I will return to them with the camera. I feel this solves the issue of using the camera to detach myself from the situation, and also allows me to record how I see the area. In a way I feel as if it would be my responsibility as a photographer to bring the images back for those of my family who would not be there, especially considering the advancing age and declining health of my remaining 2 grandparents.

    - Justin
    I think we have a very similar story and a very similar mentality about it. My mom's father was from Lodz itself, her mother was from Chmielnik (a little shtetl near Lodz), and my dad's parents were from Hungary.

    Have you talked to your grandparents about visiting there?
    Paul

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