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A visit to Buchenwald concentration camp
Old 04-27-2007   #1
lubitel
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A visit to Buchenwald concentration camp

A few weeks ago I visited a Buchenwald concentration camp. It was a very surreal experience and looking through the photos I took on that day, brought back the feeling of that visit. There is a lot to say about this emotional topic, and I just wanted to share my photos with you and hear some critique/feedback.

This little personal photo essay shows me, among other things, what Winogrand meant about distancing oneself from own photos. And I can't do that with these photos. When I look at them I get very emotional, but is the reason for that because they bring back memories of the day? Because my own grandparents' family has been executed for being jewish? Is it just the content matter? Or do they convey something on their own merit?

I'd appreciate any feedback
Thank you.

http://www.yevglad.com/buchenwald/
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Old 04-27-2007   #2
Keith
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Very ... very moving photos. What can I say ... beautifully photographed.

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Old 04-27-2007   #3
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Lubitel - well done! Speaking purely personally, I don't know if I could have controlled my emotions enough to take pictures. Yours are very considered and thoughtful while packing a real emotional punch. The way you've used everyday objects and put them into the perspective of the death camp is very powerful. The best example is the picture with the Siemens logo, and also the coat hooks with the lamp. Banal, but utterly evil. You should try to find a wider audience for these, they tell a story that needs telling often.
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Old 04-27-2007   #4
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Thank you. A worthwhile visual essay. I don't know I could bring myself to visit one of these awful places - like the poster above I don't know if I could trust my emotions. That is where photographers like you are so valuable to the rest of us.

LouisB
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Old 04-27-2007   #5
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The shoes... always the shoes. And the stones laid on the memorial monuments.

Beautifully rendered, and I'm sure you could have taken as many more pictures.
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Old 04-27-2007   #6
lubitel
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Thank you all for such positive comments. I dont know what else to say about this place. It was strange to see that it was all real, although we all know that it was real from countless films and books. But to be in these rooms and to see that in some ways they are "normal", like having a window, a sink or stairs is strange. and then seeing these hooks on a wall and knowing that hundreds or thousands of people died there, and that in no way is this room normal. Or seing a "normal" electric bill from siemens in the museum and realizing that some people have killed themselves on the electric fence surrounding the camp.
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Old 04-27-2007   #7
mpt600
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Pure evil. Horrible. And a story that must be remembered.

It was the eye test chart that got me...
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Old 04-27-2007   #8
Michiel Fokkema
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Hi,

Very good series indeed. Well captured atmosphere and it sure shows some part of the horror if possible at all.
Thanks for showing,

Michiel Fokkema
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Old 04-27-2007   #9
sooner
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Your photos are haunting and appropriate to the place and the events that took place there. I remember visiting Buchenwald in '99 and being shocked at how close it was to local towns, and how our German friend said the decision to locate the camp there had something to do with taxes or salaries of the guards, something very petty and bureaucratic, suggesting the notion that people didn't know what was going on was pure BS.
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Old 04-27-2007   #10
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Great pictures Lubitel!

I'm going to Poland in a couple of weeks and I'm really looking forward to visiting Auschwitz, although I have no clue to how I will react or feel. If I can get a dozen shots of your caliber, I'll be thankful...
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Old 04-27-2007   #11
varjag
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Very moving shoot..
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Old 04-27-2007   #12
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outstanding photos from both the technical and artistic viewpoints. I do not know any Russian- any idea what the signs visible in the ninth photo mean?

Great stuff.
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Old 04-27-2007   #13
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This will sound trivial, stupid even, but I went to Alcatraz back in 1991 and the atmosphere was grim. I imagine that was nothing compared to these places. I don't know if I'd go near them, but for those that do, a photographic record of the standard set by Lubitel may make it worthwhile.
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Old 04-27-2007   #14
varjag
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dexdog
outstanding photos from both the technical and artistic viewpoints. I do not know any Russian- any idea what the signs visible in the ninth photo mean?
Two upper signs are memorial plates to particular persons, the rightmost of them says "From sister Ira" at the bottom. The one below says:
"To prisoners from USSR
You died so that we live
Eternal memory."
Followed by engraving of memorial fire and signature.
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Old 04-27-2007   #15
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Very well done. I know the kinds of emotions these places can stir having been to two of them myself. Thank you.

Bob
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Old 04-27-2007   #16
nico
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Hi Lubitel,
I think this is a very difficult theme and you did a great job. You described in great way both technical and artistic what life was there.
Your shots reminded a book titled "Se questo un uomo" (sorry do know the title in english) written by an italian survived, Primo Levi, that may help to try to understand what the life in a camp was and what the prisoners' feelings and behaviours were.
About emotions all I can do is quote HCB and say that it's possible to get a good photo when mind, heart and eye are on the same line.
Thanks for sharing,
Nico
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Old 04-27-2007   #17
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"Se questo un uomo" is called "If this is a Man" in most English translations, except American ones, where it is called "Survival in Auschwitz".

The short stories in "Lillit e altrui racconti" published in English as "Moments of Reprieve" are additional testaments to the fact that the camp stories are those of millions of people streched over more than a decade. All of Levi's major works are stunning.

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Old 04-27-2007   #18
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Of course, I think you all know that Buchenwald and its horrors were not done when Hitler was done. The Soviets and the early DDR charges used it to jail and kill dissidents after 1945 there for a number of years.

Just as Abu Graiob was the place of atrocities for critics or so-called enemies of Sadam H. and most recently of torture of those resisting US occupation. So evil keeps on finding a place in every state and country, just remember Alcatraz was mentioned a few comments earlier in this thread.

May we overcome our own evil some day ... Shalom! And peace to you.
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Old 04-27-2007   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by varjag
Two upper signs are memorial plates to particular persons, the rightmost of them says "From sister Ira" at the bottom. The one below says:
"To prisoners from USSR
You died so that we live
Eternal memory."
Followed by engraving of memorial fire and signature.
Thanks, varjag.
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Old 04-27-2007   #20
adep
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Outstanding photographs from what was clearly an emotional place. It is obvious you know you craft well, and being personally involved, I think, helps your photos convey those emotions. For me, the simplicity of the compositions combined with the context makes these images very, very, powerful.
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Old 04-27-2007   #21
Richie
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Very moving photos.
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Old 04-27-2007   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lushd
The way you've used everyday objects and put them into the perspective of the death camp is very powerful. The best example is the picture with the Siemens logo, and also the coat hooks with the lamp. Banal, but utterly evil.
They were not coat hooks, unfortunately. People were strangled on those hooks.
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Old 04-27-2007   #23
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I have word of critique...

Edit.
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Old 04-28-2007   #24
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Some of these are very good. I went to Auschwitz and the Warsaw Ghetto a few years back, I couldn't bring myself to take pictures, I just felt uncomfortable. It was an unforgettable experience though.

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