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Tel Aviv - Through the Lens of a Magnum Photographer

Orthodox Jews from Georgia in prayer (Tel Aviv, 1973)
© Leonard Freed, Magnum Photos

During the course of the last 60 years, eight Magnum photographers have followed the development of the city of Tel Aviv with their cameras. To commemorate the city's 100th birthday, the Jewish Museum Berlin and the Magnum Photography Agency are showing 53 of these photos in an exhibition for the first time. These photos of the city are as colorful and diverse as the biographies of the photographers: They all have first-hand experience of emigration and their cultural diversity reflects a significant feature of Tel Aviv. The exhibition begins with the American photographer Robert Capa, who became well-known as a war reporter and is one of the founding members of the Magnum Photography Agency. Born to Jewish parents in Budapest, he studied in Berlin and fled in 1933 first to various European countries and ultimately to the United States. He documented the events surrounding the founding of the state of Israel in 1948.

The only resident among the exhibiting Magnum photographers is Micha Bar Am. Born in Berlin, he fled to Palestine in 1936 and has followed the political events in Israel since the mid-50s: The wars and the peace agreement with Egypt as well as the immigration of Russian and Ethiopian Jews since the 1980s. The American-Jewish photographer Leonard Freed kept photographic track of Israel's situation in 1967/68 and during the 1973 Yom Kippur War. A further far-reaching act in Israel's history is recorded in the Iranian photographer Abbas's pictures of the events surrounding the murder of Yitzhak Rabin in November 1995.

"In Haifa you work, in Jerusalem you pray, and in Tel Aviv you party." This acknowledgement of hedonism is reflected with particular clarity in Paolo Pelligrin and Patrick Zachmann's photos: Current scenes of the beach and nightlife for which the city is famous. Complementing these are impressions of Tel Aviv from the 1950s by David Seymour and Erich Hartmann, such as beach scenes of women praying. On the first day of Rosh ha-Shanah, the Jewish New Year festival, the women cast away their sins by throwing stones or bread crumbs into the water.

Exhibition opens

13 May 2009, 7 pm


14 May to 30 August 2009


Libeskind Building, ground level, Eric F. Ross Gallery


with the museum ticket

The Magnum Photography Agency was founded by photographers, for photographers, after the Second World War. Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, David Seymour, and George Rodger wanted to work together on projects that they believed in and to retain the copyright for the photos they took. Named after the bottle of champagne emptied at its founding ceremony, the agency now comprises about sixty photographers scattered across the globe.

An exhibition organized by the Jewish Museum Berlin in cooperation with Magnum Photos.

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