The Day After the End of the War

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    The problem, of course, is that there really is no day after the end of the war. The fighting may stop but wars don't end until long after the survivors have perished, taking with them their memories of all that was lost.

    Many years ago I saw a photograph taken by some unknown photographer who documented the Nazi death camps. The photo showed a storage room in which the personal belongings taken from the men and women about to be gassed to death...their eyeglasses, their coats and hats, their handbags, their shoes. The ordinariness of it all had a profound effect on me.

    Several years later, the year the Holocaust museum opened in Washington DC, I saw an exhibit that echoed that photograph. A room with those same belongings. And I was filled with such a deep ineffable sorrow that even now it disturbs me.

    1. Linus Gelber 97 months ago | reply

      Nice. So very still, and full, and empty.

    2. ~btezra~ [deleted] 97 months ago | reply

      there's a beauty here w/ the mix of shadow and light that drew me =right in

    3. jody9 97 months ago | reply

      Your shadows speak volumes.

    4. |fishlamp| 97 months ago | reply

      Geez, this is WONDERFUL!

    5. D. C. Elliott 97 months ago | reply

      More dark and shadowy visual and mental imagery, Greg. Ineffable, yes, indeed.

    6. pam ullman 97 months ago | reply

      You are the master of simple shots that say absolutely everything. A beauty. (P.S. By simple, I don't mean easy to shoot or simplistic. I mean unencumbered by distraction. Yet more than minimalist.)

    7. [deleted] 97 months ago | reply

      captured precisely, here. ineffable. sorrow. shadows long & lasting.

    8. meeralee 97 months ago | reply

      Thanks for the story, Greg. This is a very moving image. There's a children's book called "Hannah's Suitcase" you might find interesting, if you're near a library soon.

    9. It'sGreg 97 months ago | reply

      Thanks for all the kind comments. I love that late evening light, but it moves so quickly and with such drama that you don't have a lot of time to consider the shot before you have to take it. That makes it more fun.

      And Pam, simple is what I'm after. Complex but uncomplicated, if that makes sense.

    10. nsca 97 months ago | reply

      Very poignant.
      I think you will find this quite moving also.
      Iron casts of shoes.

    11. ErinTyner 97 months ago | reply

      A haunting photo and story. The mundane alongside the tragic, it is moving and also very humbling.

    12. / No to censorship [deleted] 96 months ago | reply

      I just found this in the thread.

      It gives me shivers and goosebumps when I look at it and am reading your description.

      I will never forget the day we went and visited a camp like you described.
      It's an experience that will stick with you forever.
      We were with four people there and didn't talk for hours afterwards...

    13. David Lewis-Baker 92 months ago | reply

      I'm admin for a group called War and Memory in Art and Photography, and I would love to have your piece and any others relating to war and memory added to the group.

    14. It'sGreg 92 months ago | reply

      David, thanks for the invitation. Although the group looks interesting, I'm afraid I have to decline. A while back I decided not to join any more new groups unless I was certain I could actively participate in them. It seems wrong to join a group like yours, then use it as nothing more than a photo dump. But thanks for the thought.

    15. Matt Redmond 57 months ago | reply

      Wow. This is beautiful. Both the photo and the words evoke a strange mix of sorrow, emptiness, and indignation... just wonderful.

      And I love your description of "Complex but uncomplicated." Thats what I love.

      How are these project titles chosen? Sounds like an interesting concept

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