The Photography of Judah Passow

Packshot on 18/03/2012

Click here to view “No Place Like Home”, Judah Passow’s impeccable depictions of Judaism across the UK.

Featured in London’s Jewish Museum, and also this week on the BBC website, they display a diverse range of Jewish of lives in intimate detail, from births to bar mitzvahs to burials, with a great deal more besides. Photographing scenes in London, Glasgow and Belfast, Passow has captured everything between elation and sorrow with an extremely insightful intimacy.

“Giving expression to your Jewishness is an intensely personal thing”, Passow observes, and his images illustrate this well. As part of this project, he photographed the only Jewish bagpipe band on Earth (based in Glasgow), as well as charity fundraising events and even a street performance in London.

One of the more striking elements of Passow’s photography is his minimalism. Shot in a variety of contexts, a stark monochrome marks all of his images, with incidental details afforded an additional significance, expressive of his subjects’ identities. But also implicit in each photograph is the importance of “togetherness” within relationships and communities. At no point are any of Passow’s subjects in a state of isolation – every experience is a shared one. It lends a sense of warmth and community to the collection – a very significant theme, of course, in Jewish life.

Passow’s work in the UK forms a part of a wider project in which he has documented Jewish life around the world, including the West Bank, where – among the great tragedies there – that sense of community assumes an equally necessary, though far more serious, aspect. Additionally, he has photographed a number of other conflict zones around the world, shedding light on the experiences of ordinary people. Brave, incisive work – well worthy of your time.

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