Missing Person: Mania Gerber

This woman, Mania Gerber, went missing around 1940/ 1941 when fleeing Poland from the Nazis. She was travelling with her brothers Shmuel Gerber and Izaak Gerber and Izaak Gerber's wife Aita Gerber and their three year old son. The family originated from Katowice, Poland and fled East when the Germans invaded Poland. They may have settled in Lvov and then Odessa. Mania Gerber was separated from her brothers perhaps in Lvov or Odessa. The brothers, both watchmakers, settled in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. To this day nobody knows what happened to Mania Gerber, if the Nazis murdered her in the Lvov ghetto or Belzec death camp deportations or if she was lost in Odessa and murdered in the 'Holocaust by Bullets'. This photograph is the only evidence that she ever existed and belongs to Shmuel Gerber's daughter who today lives in Israel. If any Holocaust researchers can trace this woman's fate or records, please get in touch.

Rasha Kahil Among The Graves

It's always the rawness in Rasha Kahil's photography which gets to me. No matter what she does - and she is insanely prolific, seemingly living with a camera sewn on the end of her arm like Weegee - it always has this ruggedness, raggedness, roughness to it. Sometimes she makes me think of Nan Goldin, sometimes of Weegee, sometimes of Terry Richardson, sometimes Elinor Carucci, sometimes Wolfgang Tillmans - sometimes of filmmaker John Cassavetes. Very much a diarist, following a blog is to follow Rasha wherever she goes/ whatever she does: trips back to her hometown of Beirut, the rest of Lebanon; trips around England; magazine commissions - but mostly it's the story of her life in London - faces come around time and time again until they become familiar to those following her work. Oh yeah, you think, there's X or Y, she looks more tired/ run down than last time she was photographed - or he/ she looks happier/ healthier. The work tracks the ups and downs. Sometimes people appear and then disappear - transient figures who briefly seem to obsess Rasha and then they're gone. The photographs below feature another Rasha subject, Sarah, set loose in what appears to be Highgate cemetery. The work made me think generally of Georges Bataille's writings. It's another arresting series from Rasha with all her hallmarks: rawness, irreverence, the sense that what is happening in the photographs is out of sync with 'conventional everyday life'. It's a running theme in Rasha's work - her self portraits are nearly always nudes: her successful travelling series (now off to Istanbul from Beirut) In Your Home, is only that: Rasha placing herself naked and secretly in other people's spaces. There are plenty of other self portraits in which she places herself naked in public spaces too - often forests, open spaces. Logistically, you sense she gets a huge kick out of repeating this same story over and over. Anyway, here's a mini-series edit of the series 'Sarah Among The Graves' Rasha took of someone she knows playing muse and acting inside the usual Rasha preoccupation.

Colombe Schneck

Got all books by French writer Colombe Schneck on my reading wish list after just discovering her work.
Drives me nuts when I discover a writer like this whose work seems amazing only to find no U.K/ U.S publisher ever wanted to publish her writing in English. Having published an Israeli film book in translation myself recently (see earlier blog post about Shira Geffen's Jellyfish), I know all about the dramas and challenges of bringing a work from another language into English and the costs (author advance, translator fees, translation time, designer, printer) and how booksellers get really sniffy and huffy about literature in translation. And yet: that's no reason for a great writer or great book not to make it into the English language.
I'll be reading these novels with a French dictionary in hand, but it'll be worth it. Call it reader's hunch.

another episode of Nordic Bakery perfection

i really heart these people

Diptyque's fabulous retro Renault 4 makes me nostalgic

my whole childhood, my mother drove a Renault 4. when i saw an old one in Cassis this summer, i was stunned by the insane 'sawn off golf club' gearstick which is set horizontally (!) in the dashboard. triggered a heap of memories of my mother's elbow going zig zag, zig zag.