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Roman Vishniac- Photographer
Upper Gallery, May 17, 2019
Free for SCNY members & $15 for non-members.
Sponsored by the SCNY Program Committee.
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Roman Vishniac (1897-1990) created a broad variety of photographic artwork. He was best known for his documentary photography of Jewish communities in pre-Holocast Eastern Europe. This discussion led by Howard J. Radzyner will examine the many facets of Visniac's photography.
Settling in Weimar-era Berlin in 1920 after fleeing the post-revolutionary upheaval in his native Moscow, Vishniac became a member of several photography and science organizations. He produced a body of “street photography”, photojournalism and scientific photography that predated his justifiably renowned multi-country documentary journeys (circa 1935-1938). After these trips, Vishniac produced additional images related to his sponsoring organization’s work facilitating the escape from Europe of threatened Jewish populations.
Arriving in NYC with his family at the beginning of 1941, Vishniac immediately began working as a freelance photographer. His work consisted largely of public relations and marketing assignments for social welfare agencies and of portraiture. Much of Vishniac’s NYC work from the 1940s, which included more than a few surprises, was only recently unearthed by researchers at the International Center of Photography.
Educated as a biologist, Vishniac always maintained an interest in the application of photography to science. In 1945 he contributed the first of many science photographs to LIFE, the largest and best known of the “picture magazines”. His work was sought after and used by magazines, researchers, book publishers and commercial companies. In the late 1950s, in order to better tell what he felt were dynamic, living stories, Vishniac turned his attention to the production of cinematography. His major project, the Living Biology film series, was supported by the National Science Foundation with funding equivalent currently to over $2,000,000. Biological and scientific photographs by Vishniac were included in exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art, the Cleveland Museum and the Niekrug Gallery in NYC.
Interest in Vishniac’s humanistic, documentary of the 1930s was rekindled and brought to the attention of the art and museum world around 1970 largely through the efforts of Cornell Capa. Vishaniac has been describes as a photographer, a biologist, an art collector, and teacher of art history. Please join us for the conversations related to Roman Vishniac as related to the worlds of art, museums, and publication.
In conjunction with this event, attendees are welcome to dine in the Salmagundi Club dining room downstairs after the lecture. Please call 212-255-7740 to make a reservation at least a week in advance of the event.
Reservations are required.