September 2, 2011

The Ghosts of Auschwitz-Birkenau Exhibition

The Ghosts of Auschwitz-Birkenau will be appearing at the Old Firehouse Art Center in Longmont, CO from September 9th through October 14th, 2011.

There will be an Opening Reception at 6 pm on September 9th, and I will be in attendance.

Here is my artist statement from this portfolio:

What can be said about Auschwitz-Birkenau that hasn’t already been said? What can be photographed at those sacred places that hasn’t already been photographed?

As I thought about what had occurred there I wondered how any human could do such inhumane things, and then I recalled”The Mysterious Stranger” by Mark Twain.  In this story a young boy named Seppi is talking to Satan about a man who had brutally beaten his dog.  Seppi declared that this man’s actions were inhumane and Satan responded:

“No, it wasn’t Seppi; it was human–quite distinctly human.”

Satan points out that no other creature on the planet would treat another this way…except humans.

I had not intended to photograph during my tour of the camps but after being there a few minutes, I felt compelled. With every step I wondered about the people whose feet had walked in exactly the same footsteps. I wondered if their spirits still lingered there today.

And so I photographed ghosts.

If you haven’t seen these images in person, there is a quality to them that cannot be conveyed by an electronic image on a computer screen.  If you are in the area, I hope to see you next Friday evening.


2 thoughts on “The Ghosts of Auschwitz-Birkenau Exhibition

  1. Good luck with the exhibition Cole.
    In 1982 I visited the Dachau concentration camp what a sad and eerie place. I too thought how can man do these things to a fellow human being. I remember standing by an open window looking into a room. The same window and room that a photograph depicted then with the room full of corpses. Your images capture the feeling entirely.

  2. Dean, I agree. The biggest feeling I had was: the death camps had nothing to do with numbers, but rather how sadistic and inhumane man can be. For me, their sub-human treatment was even worse than their being murdered.

    I’ll have to tell the story sometime of meeting 10 survivors who had come to see my exhibition, and what I observed.


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