This essay examines how fine-art photographs taken of former Nazi camps may foster or discourage critical engagement with how we and others—individuals, communities, nations—visualize, conceptualize, and memorialize the Holocaust. It discusses James Friedman's "12 Nazi Concentration Camps" as an exceptional body of work that breaks with how the camps are typically photographed: namely, as spaces of remembrance frozen in time, bereft of color and human life. Unlike images that portray the camps as silent, still, and vacant, Friedman's color photographs present the memorial camps as curious social spaces in which people—foreign tourists, local residents, children on school trips, workers, soldiers, Holocaust survivors, and a photographer among them—may interact. Through an examination of work by photographers who made pictures of the camps in the closing decades of the twentieth century, including Friedman, Erich Hartmann, and Dirk Reinartz, and a recounting of the author's own experience of photographing the camps at that time, this essay argues against efforts to fix the Holocaust in properly commemorative images.


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pp. 9-40
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