Some Things Seen in Israel: Photographs by Burt Allen Solomon

On view April 14–July 28, 2013

Burt Allen Solomon, “Altneuland” (Tel Aviv), 2009, gelatin silver print, 9 ¾ x 7 ¾ inches (2009.3) © 2013

Some Things Seen in Israel: Photographs by Burt Allen Solomon features a selection of 42 black-and-white photographs taken at intervals over a forty-year period from the Mediterranean Sea to across the Green Line, Israel’s pre-1967 border. Solomon began photographing in Israel in 1968 – arriving days after an El Al hijacking. His images capture the shifts in Israeli culture, fixing them in gestures, lights, shadows and contrasts. With rare exceptions, his images are untitled, encouraging audiences to look and not to be directed toward a particular viewpoint. “My view is that photographs should first stand on their own,” Solomon said. “Only rarely have I given names to pictures. For example, I gave the ironic title Altneuland (Tel Aviv, 2009.3), after Herzl’s book, to a photo contrasting new, multi-story luxury housing on the former site of the Tel Aviv Opera House with a much older building in the foreground.”

Reflecting on the many years he has photographed in Israel, Solomon noted, “Even now, having looked at thousands of photographs, my work is basically what I see. I look at what is in my view and some things interest me (subject matter, light, composition). If I have my camera with me and at the ready, I take a photograph. My first trip to Israel was exciting. Everything was new and ‘exotic,’ and there were lots of photographic subjects all the time.”

Burt Allen Solomon, Tel Aviv, 2009, gelatin silver print, 7 ¾ x 9 ¾ inches (2009.1) © 2013

Solomon was born in 1944 and grew up in Brooklyn, New York. His photographs reflect a documentary, “street photography” style. He has been taking, developing and printing photographs since he graduated from high school, having started out on his father’s World-War-II-vintage Kodak Medalist II camera, with its large “medium format” (2 ¼ x 3 ¼) negative size, and has been behind many cameras since then. Among the photography books that have influenced him, Solomon has noted the acclaimed The Family of Man (1955) and US Camera Annual 1947, as well as visits to the Kodak gallery in Grand Central Terminal. His father, a printer by day and hobbyist photographer, introduced him to the darkroom in a corner of their garage in Brooklyn. Solomon lives in South Orange, New Jersey and is a practicing attorney in New York City. His work has been exhibited previously at Vladeck Hall Gallery, Amalgamated Houses in The Bronx and at the Framing Mill, Maplewood, NJ.

This exhibition is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.