Grace. Dignity. Humility. Compassion. Photographic Portraits: The Holocaust Survivors of Baltimore

Grace. Dignity. Humility. Compassion. Photographic Portraits: The Holocaust Survivors of Baltimore

Current Exhibit

December 1, 2015

Morrison Gallery, Library

Gallery Handout >>

I titled this body of work “Grace. Dignity. Humility. Compassion. Photographic Portraits: The Holocaust Survivors of Baltimore” because these are the qualities that I see in the survivors as I have gotten to know them over the years.

I am a photographer who works in the Jewish community. I met a Holocaust survivor for the first time in 2000. After hearing his story and connecting with him, I started working with Holocaust survivors and began facilitating a Holocaust survivor social club in 2002. Shortly after, I started bringing my camera to work and photographed the survivors when we met as a group.

This project evolved as I began photographing the survivors in their homes, and they started telling me their stories. I had my first exhibition of this work in 2006 and since then the work has become an educational tool through which I teach about the Holocaust. I am still photographing as I meet new survivors, and I aspire to create a book about this work.

The survivors’ ability to move on with life after surviving insurmountable persecution and loss has inspired me greatly. I am in awe of how people who have been through so much continuously communicate values such as tolerance, forgiveness, the importance of education, respecting others, valuing family, and appreciating freedom.

Whenever I hear a survivor speaking to a group about their experiences, the survivor always asks the audience to remember their stories, to tell them after they are gone, and to learn from them. I feel a personal obligation to share with you what I have learned from these remarkable people. I hope that you will take something with you that speaks to you.

This exhibition is part of programming organized by the Penn State Harrisburg Center for Holocaust and Jewish Studies under the direction of Dr. Anthony Bak Buccitelli. The Center acknowledges the support of Dr. Mukund Kulkarni, chancellor, Penn State Harrisburg; Dr. Gregory Crawford, interim director, School of Humanities, Penn State Harrisburg; Glenn McGuigan, library director, Penn State Harrisburg; Irwin and Nancy Aronson; Dr. Madlyn Hanes; Neil Leifert; Kurt and Doris Moses; Linda Schwab; Harry Yaverbaum; and Eileen Zagon.

Lead Scholar: Dr. Simon J. Bronner
Curator: Dr. Anthony Buccitelli
Administrative Support: Taneile Fasnacht
Graphics: Sharon Siegfried
Website: Center for Holocaust and Jewish Studies

Gallery Handout >>

About the Artist:

Lisa ShifrenLisa Shifren has been taking photographs for more than 20 years. In addition to being a photographer and digital artist, she works as a Jewish communal professional at Jewish Community Services in Baltimore, MD with Holocaust survivors who are the subjects of her recent body of work titled “Grace. Dignity. Humility. Compassion. Photographic Portraits: The Holocaust Survivors of Baltimore.”
Shifren has been invited to exhibit her work at Clarion University, The Rosenberg Gallery at Goucher College, The Baltimore City Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) Commemoration, The Social Security Administration, The Reeves Gallery, Roland Park Country School, The Norman and Sara Brown Art Gallery, The Maryland Institute College of Art, Amalie Rothschild Gallery, Creative Alliance Main Gallery, Load of Fun Studios, Herring Run Artists’ Network, School 33’s Open Studio Tour, and The Center for Art and Visual Culture in Baltimore.
Shifren’s work has been featured in The Print, Drawing, and Photographic Society of the Baltimore Museum of Art’s Newsletter, the Baltimore Jewish Times, Jewish Women International Magazine, and on WYPR’s Maryland Morning