Carol Zemel, “Who Took the Pictures of the Kishinev Pogrom? The First Atrocity Photographs”

Gerstein Distinguished Visiting Professor Lecture Series

Photographs of the Kishinev pogrom of April 1903 first appeared in William Randolph Hearst's The New York American (13 May 1903) and, some weeks later, in the St. Petersburg Yiddish daily Der Fraynd. We know little, however, about their photographer, the conditions of their making, or even their publication history.  My interest centers on their status as earlyperhaps the first"atrocity photographs" of a civilian massacre.

How do images report the pogrom? The immediacy of the camera’s capture offers a different kind of record. What information can we glean from the photographic? How are elements of order and disorder recorded? How do the images present the dead and the living? How do they represent religion, class, and gender identities? What are their emphases and possible gaps? What is the viewer’s position in relation to these scenes?

Despite the facticity of the medium, the Kishinev pictures are hardly detached or neutral records. Rather, they use forensic data and the mechanism of the camera to develop a new genre of report and to launch an iconography of modern violence.

Carol Zemel is Professor Emerita of Visual Art and Art History at York University. For more information, please click here.

This event is free and open to the public. No registration required. Limited seating.

Date & Time
Wednesday, November 30, 2016 - 4:00pm - 5:30pm

Jackman Humanities Building, Room 100, 170 St. George Street