Written by Jason Francisco*
with photographs by Laurence Salzmann
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Commissioned by the University of Pennsylvania's Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts in honor of Salzmann's gift of a substantial photographic and film archive that covers works from his 60 year career as a photographer and filmmaker.
Text by noted photographer and photo essayist Jason Francisco*.
Cover photograph by Siegfried Halus of a young Salzmann in 1966 while he was filming his film The Ragman with a 16 mm Bolex movie camera.
Get the book plus one 8.5'' x 11'' Pigment Print
on Hahnemuhle Archival paper for
Laurence Salzmann's life as a professional photographer spans more than half a century and traverses four continents. This vast visual body of work is at the same time fine art and anthropological field research displaying ethnographic and aesthetic qualities of the highest caliber. His interdisciplinary projects cover a range of human experiences and geographical locales, documenting indigenous people in Mexico, Cuba, and Peru, the last surviving members of Jewish communities in Romania and Turkey, Black-Jewish relationships in the United States, life in single room occupancy hotels in New York City during the 1960s, and lived experiences on the streets of Philadelphia.
The Penn Libraries celebrates the donation of the Laurence Salzmann and Ayse Gursan-Salzmann Collection not only for the beauty, depth, range, and human significance of its images. The Salzmann Collection gift, comprising more than twenty distinct projects, also programmatically advances our ongoing curatorial efforts to rethink the role of photography in libraries, both as primary sources to collect and as a foundation for building and teaching visual literacy.
*About the Author
Jason Francisco (born 1967, California) is an artist and essayist. Joining documentary and conceptual art, his photoworks and writings focus on the complications of historical memory, and new directions in the art of witness. Much of his work concerns the inheritance of trauma, specifically concerning Jewish experience in eastern Europe. Francisco's large-scale projects include Alive and Destroyed: A Meditation on the Holocaust in Time (Daylight Books, 2021), Autobiography of an Unknown American (2021), The Camp in Its Afterlives (2010-2018), An Unfinished Memory (2014-2018), After the American Century (2002-2018), Big City (1990-2020), Far from Zion: Jews, Diaspora, Memory (Stanford University Press, 2006), and The Villages: Rural India at the End of the Twentieth Century (1990-1997). He is also the author of numerous limited edition photobooks, web-based installations, experimental films, hybrid photo-text writings, reportages, essays, and poems in translation. He received his education at Columbia University, King's College London, and Stanford University.