[Jewish schoolchildren, Mukacevo]
|Historical Location||Mukacevo Czechoslovakia|
|Dimensions||Image: 6 9/16 x 9 3/4 in. (16.6 x 24.7 cm)
Paper: 8 1/16 x 10 in. (20.4 x 25.4 cm)
|Print medium||Photo-Gelatin silver|
From 1935 to 1938, Vishniac made numerous trips to the city of Mukacevo, a major center of religious learning among Jews from Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and the Carpathian region. Mukacevo was widely known for its famous rabbis and yeshivot (religious schools). This image of Jewish schoolchildren appears in cropped form on the cover of Vishniac’s first posthumous publication, To Give Them Light; the recently digitized negative reveals that it represents only one-fifth of the full frame. Vishniac often directed printers or publishers to crop his images to focus on religiously observant Jewish men or boys, identifiable by their dress, an editorial decision that sometimes detracted from the composition by subverting aesthetic considerations to emphasize religious and observant life. The negative reveals Vishniac’s instinctive compositional acumen: a bustling and vibrant street scene, with a boy’s beaming, slightly out-of-focus face in the foreground and numerous hands pushing into and out of the frame, communicating the vitality and liveliness of the students.
© Mara Vishniac Kohn
Museum Purchase, International Fund for Concerned Photography, 1974