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Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide
Apr 08

Roman Vishniac and The Camera Debate

David Friedman

by David Friedman
Category: Technology

In this weekend’s New York Times Magazine, the captions and efficacy of photographer Roman Vishniac’s work in capturing pre-war Easter Europe is questioned. While various sources in the article debate whether or not his captions distort the reality of the pictures or if his images project a narrow point of view of that time and place, there is a technology debate in the article as well. Were the pictures staged or not?

This actually can likely be proven if we know what kind of camera he used: The article states:
“Other claims have required only common sense to refute, like Vishniac’s assertion that he took moving footage with a camera hidden in a valise. ‘Have you seen film cameras from that time?’ Benton notes. ‘They’re not exactly camcorders you can just stick in your purse.’”
Most of Vishniac’s pictures in question were taken in the late 1930s. And here is what a typical camera looked like from that era.

http://licm.org.uk/livingImage/Six20ModC.html

Isn’t technology more at the heart of this debate? What kind of camera did he use? Would like to see some follow up piece that hones in on this piece of the arguments made.

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