The purpose of photography is the transmission of a visualized sector of life through the medium of the camera into a mental process that starts with the photographer's thinking about the subject he photographs and is continued in the mind of the spectator.
I was living in Germany in the thirties, and I knew that Hitler had made it his mission to exterminate all Jews, especially the children and the women who could bear children in the future. I was unable to save my people, only their memory.
Everything made by human hands looks terrible under magnification--crude, rough, and asymmetrical. But in nature every bit of life is lovely. And the more magnification we use, the more details are brought out, perfectly formed, like endless sets of boxes within boxes.
A man with a camera was always suspected of being a spy. Moreover, the Jews did not want to be photographed, due to a misunderstanding of the prohibition against making graven images (photography had not been invented when the Torah was written!). I was forced to use a hidden camera.
Even before the concentration camps, I felt it was my duty to my ancestors to preserve a world which might cease to exist.
Nature, God, or whatever you want to call the creator of the universe comes through the microscope clearly and strongly
can you call a farm with a dozen geese a farm? Still, it was a little better for the Jews in Czechoslovakia. There were only two pogroms there. What's two pogroms?
You can't teach biology with a bottle containing dead animals and organisms.
The Jews of the shtetls that Tolstoy remembered were saints... the people I photographed were saints. So now, in 1983, I tell the world: When you learn about Goethe, don't forget to study the Holocaust, too.
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