Story and photos by Ethan Pickering – Assistant Editor
The Baldwin Photographic Gallery is hosting “An Eye for Justice” photo gallery on the second floor of the Bragg Media and Entertainment Building from February 4 to April 15, 2021.
The exhibit features two separate photo galleries by the same photographer, Morrie Camhi.
Camhi was born in New York City in 1928 and had a Greek Jewish heritage. He was a career commercial photographer who studied English Literature at the University of California in Los Angeles.
In the late 1960s, he sold his photography business and began focusing on documentary work. Much of his documentary work has been featured in exhibits and books worldwide, even after his death in 1999.
His documentary film style is very raw and interesting, and both of the exhibits in this gallery illustrate this well.
The Prison Experience
In the late 1980s, Camhi gained unescorted access to inmates in the Vacaville Prison in California, where he photographed and built relationships with many of the inmates and their families over a period of 18 months.
In the time spent in the prison, Camhi captured the surreal sociological and multi-dimensioned experience of life in an American prison. All of his photos elude a very personal air of intimacy, and each one of the inmates has a story to tell.
His photos all show what seems to be a day in the life of these inmates. Some of the pictures portray how that particular inmate ended up there, or what their views on life or politics are, or sometimes even just them telling stories from the streets back when they were free. The stories the photos tell are powerful and impactful.
The most heartbreaking photos in the collection are those taken of some of the inmate’s family members who are struggling to deal with the imprisonment of their significant other or parent.
Faces and Facets: The Jews of Greece
The second part of the exhibit is covering a much different topic. Camhi took to Greece in order to photo document the Jewish communities there. This was a much more personal venture for Camhi, who was a Greek Jew himself.
Through the 1980s and 1990s, he photographed the daily lives of the Jewish citizens of Greece. These shots portray a familiarity to all the subjects captured, Jews of all ages and walks of life, and the type of life that they live.
The photos are clearly personal to Camhi and each individual subject photographed has their own story that he tries to capture with each frame. Their homes and places of work or business are featured almost like a character alongside the people photographed.
Camhi’s photographs in both parts of the exhibit are a marvel in personality and socioeconomics. The photos feel personal and familiar in ways that you would not expect, considering the concepts he portrays are far from normal for many people who might see his work.
This adds a surreal feeling of relating to people that you may not have otherwise, and that is what is so mesmerizing about this gallery of photos from the past.
To contact Lifestyles Editor Ashley Barrientos, email email@example.com.
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