My work, both historical and contemporary, are made to form a sense of self that points to my American Jewish origins and contemporary experience of Jewish death, one that for the first time (for me) is not the same death I learned in hebrew studies. Death that I felt was used to point toward an Zionist Ideal. Past In Present is but one of an endless collection of Jewish experiences that are not assimilated in the American historical canon of what and who a Jew is. The photographs speak words of Jewish death and grieving, the conflation of historical and personal memory, and other forms of Jewishness not found in our history textbooks.
Past in Present is comprised of 72 photos capturing my grandmother’s photo album as she curated it from the 1930s to the 1960s. The images feature Jewish experiences during the 30s and 40s in America that at one point, I thought to be impossible. The filmic aesthetic and captioned dates of my grandmother’s photos implicitly call to the images of the Holocaust, and the stark and disturbing contrast between Jewish death and Jewish life come to the surface. The missing images from the album, marked by the empty mounting corners and void captions, speak to the importance of missing details in the stories we inherent.