Finding a Sense of Community Amid the Coronavirus Pandemic - Feature Shoot

In the last two weeks, I have received more than two dozen emails about the temporary closures of galleries and studio spaces amid the coronavirus pandemic. I’ve received several more…

Over the past week, we’ve spoken to the photographer and professional development coach Danny Ghitis about how creatives can cope during this time and continue to create meaningful work in unprecedented circumstances.

LightBox | Time

Read the latest stories about LightBox on Time

Photographers, for instance, no longer need to physically exchange negatives, prints, contact sheets or other “analog” materials in order to work with each other; all we need is an internet connection — a new reality that helped inspire @echosight, a joint-Instagram account between photographers Danny Ghitis in New York and Daniella Zalcman in London

Land of Oś – The Vigilante Journalist

By Danny Ghitis This series focuses on the complex nature of life in the Polish town, Oświęcim, better known for its German name, Auschwitz. As a grandson of a Holocaust survivor, this is a personal reflection on the town and represents my ongoing studies of human identity. While countless images from the concentration camp flood the media, this is the first long-term photographic study of the town of Oświęcim and its people.

Danny Ghitis: Kazimerz Travel | Pangea

Until the fall of communism, the former Jewish district of Krakow, known as Kazimerz, had become a slum. The neighborhood was once a bustling center of life before most of its residents were murdered during WWII. Today, the streets once again teem with activity as hundreds of thousands of tourists a year rediscover a democratic Poland.

Danny Ghitis | Photo Blog: Re-imaging The Road to Auschwitz

There's a saying from the War - "All roads lead to Auschwitz." The meaning is pretty clear. It was the central extermination site set up in a strategic location where it was easily accessible from countries with big Jewish populations. But that was then, this is now. The camp is still there, bringing in about a million tourists a year. Most take a 1.5 hour train or bus ride from Krakow to the camp, then go back at the end of the day. Most aren't considering modern Poland, or what life is like for the people who live near this ultimate symbol of evil. The road/railroad/passage to the camp has a lot of historical weight. If you think about the road to Auschwitz I bet you'll imagine old black and white photographs of cattle cars, barbed wire, SS men, etc. These are memories of actual pictures you've seen in textbooks, movies, museums which has transcended society's visual imprint of the Holocaust. And as a result, of Poland. So in my back and forth trips I look out the window and try to see things for what they are instead of what history might imagine. It's an exercise in altering implanted memories that come from old photos. There's no time to plan the pictures I take because the moments pass by in an instant. Although my split-second reactions are of course affected by my perception of the things I'm seeing, the resulting photos reflect a more accurate reality of the landscape.

Danny Ghitis: A Thin Line | Pangea Photo Blog

From the day he died until his burial on April 18th, Poland was enraptured with mourning ceremonies. In the end the Kaczynskis were entombed at Wawel Castle, where kings and national heroes have been traditionally buried. No other modern figure lies in its catacombs. This decision went largely uncontested aside from a few protests. Strangely, as I went around to different memorials I noticed very few tears or obvious grief. The atmosphere was respectful, but from my experience Polish culture seems reserved in daily life relative to other cultures. Without  prior knowledge, a tourist may have thought he was approaching a cultural festival in the center of Krakow.

Danny Ghitis: The Land of Oś, pt. 1 | Pangea Photo Blog

At the end of the infamous railroad tracks is a city of red brick and barbed wire fencing. To see it is to gaze into the face of death. The human mind can’t comprehend what more than 1,000,000 murders looks or feels like. Nevertheless, the same number of living people pay homage to the lost souls at Auschwitz-Birkenau every year. Very few venture into the adjacent Polish town.

Danny Ghitis

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From dannyghitis.com:

Danny Ghitis, born 1982, is a New York-based freelance photographer specializing in social documentary and portraiture. Born in Cali, Colombia, he and his middle-class Jewish family emigrated to the Midwestern U.S. when he was four-years-old. By age 10, his family had moved eight different times. They finally decided to settle in South Florida, where he spent his formative years. He picked up a camera for the first time in 2004 at the University of Florida.

Check it out here.