Science and "race" in solomon yudovin's photographic documentation of Russian jewry, 1912-1914

Amos Morris-Reich*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


From the perspective of Central European developments in scientific photography, this article studies the photographs taken by Solomon Yudovin as part of S. An-sky's ethnographic expedition to the Pale of Settlement between 1912 and 1914. The first part of the article argues that the scientific goals of the expedition demanded the introduction of photography less out of an inherent interest in the medium than out of the desire to employ advanced scientific techniques. The second part identifies various strains of scientific photography in Yudovin's photographic practice. It shows that his photographs encompass both of what later came to be contrasted as racial photography and social documentation. Employing a comparative approach, and touching particularly on questions of Jewish visibility at the time and after the Holocaust, the third part of the article points to the specificity of photography as an indexical medium in this history.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-78
Number of pages26
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


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