Discovering Remarkable People
against racism, 1910 - 2008. Photograph © Joel Redman.
Over at the Magnum blog today Alec Soth noted that Simon Norfolk is guest editing an issue of The British Journal of Photography this week. He noted too that Norfolk had given the cover story over to Milton Rogovin. So it seemed like a good bet to drop in at the BJP page and see what was up. Well, since I'm not a subscriber, I couldn't access the Rogovin story. But I did discover this portrait by Joel Redman, which Norfolk singled out as follows:
So thanks to Joel, Simon, and Alec for helping me discover Leon. And I suspect that Milton Rogovin would rather have Leon in the limelight than be there himself. He is remarkable too.
"When I adjudicated the BJP International Photography Award recently I was told the rules didn't allow for a Judge's Choice. However, the great thing about being editor - King For A Day - is that I can put whatever I like in the magazine. So here it is: my Judge's Choice.
I couldn't swing the rest of the panel to back this fine portrait by Joel Redman, probably because my reasons for loving it are too personal. I knew without any caption that it is a portrait of Leon Greenman, who died earlier this year and who was also an Auschwitz survivor and a life-long anti-fascist fighter. I first met him on demonstrations in the early 1990s. In amongst the youthful racket was a silent, elderly man in a raincoat and beret with a large lapel badge saying 'I was there' - he had survived the Nazi death camps.
Auschwitz isn't an aberration, a myth or a 'detail of history', and the evil that made it had to be confronted wherever it reappears. I found his political tenacity astounding and the fury that he carried with him, uncooled after 50 years, totally inspiring. Joel Redman has done well to capture his wide-eyed curiosity and his inner toughness.
His death is a loss for all of us - the world needs many more people like Leon Greenman, not one less."