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Artists' Books
Oświęcim-Brzezinka
Andreas Magdanz
Art Library Rare Books Collection: PR 6123 .R55 M37 2013 box 20.1

This small but powerful book is a response to Loridan-Ivens' autobiographically inspired film "The Birch-Tree Meadow," which relates the story of a Holocaust survivor who, as a teenaged girl, was imprisoned at Auschwitz. From The Photobook, Volume II, by Martin Parr and Gerry Badger: "The genocide photobook is an important genre within the remit of concerned photographers. Andreas Magdanz has returned to the subject. making a series of quiet, meditative landscapes in colour that by virtue of their lyrical restraint say much about the place as it is today, as a museum, a memorial, a tourist destination or place of pilgrimage, and a graveyard. It was in response to [the predominance of black and white, portentously gloomy and romantic style of photographing concentration camps] that Andreas Magdanz decided to use color photography when he photographed the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex as part of Marceline Loridan-Ivens's autobiographical feature film, La petite prairie aux bouleaux (Little Birch Meadow, 2002). Magdanz's photography makes its effects by means of understatement. Viewing his colour images, one sees clearly that the photographic medium of reality is now colour, where once it was considered to be monochrome. And this is unsettling: Auschwitz is brought into the here and now. These calm, summery pictures remove it from the long ago and far away, a symbol of the past that we can safely leave with an unbelieving shudder. They force us to meditate not only on what happened, but on the forces of intolerance--still at work--that may allow it to happen again."

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