And God said, “Let there be light.” And there was light. And God saw that it was good. – Genesis 1:3-4
Every year the members of the Northwest Houston Photo Club (of which I am a member) are invited to put together a portfolio of their work and submit it – first for public view and then for a private one-on-one review with several professional photographers. Each year I have produced a group of 10-12 photos that more often than not feature flowers or other God-made things. This year, I am departing from that normal focus and have put together a portfolio featuring photographs from the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, located in Berlin, Germany. Here are those photos for your viewing. My artist statement is at the bottom of this page.
Views of The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, also known as the Holocaust Memorial, is located in Berlin, Germany. Designed by architect Peter Eisenman and engineer Buro Happold, it occupies a 4.7-acre site covered with 2,711 concrete slabs or “stelae”, arranged in a grid pattern on a sloping field. The stelae are 7 ft 10 in. long, 3 ft 1 in. wide and vary in height from 7.9 in. to 15 ft., 5 in. They are organized in rows: 54 of them going north–south, and 87 heading east–west at right angles but set slightly askew. We had heard of this memorial and wanted to see it, but were stunned to silence when we actually came upon it. I knew immediately I wanted to produce a portfolio from the photos I took while we were there.
The number of stelae (2,711) is a prime number. For that reason, I chose to highlight 11 images (also a prime number) for this portfolio. Because there are several ways to encounter and process this memorial, I chose not to have all the images in black and white, and not all in landscape orientation.
I began to take a serious interest in photography while a junior in high school. I more often photograph flowers, landscapes and other things of creation. These images mark a departure from my normal focus, and I hope those who see this portfolio will take a few moments of silence to grieve the great tragedy this memorial represents. Perhaps one might also consider whether there are any modern-day parallels to the brutal genocide which these stelae represent. Persecution and slaughter of Jews, Muslims, Christians, the unborn, or any racial, or other ethnic-cleansing efforts come to my mind.