Eliška Blažková in her photography project HAREDIM handles a very difficult topic of israeli ultra-Orthodox Jews in Mea Shearim, Jerusalem. These photographs surprise not only by the tough theme, but also by the author´s quiet way of observation. They are definitely not just random snapshots, but rather strongly experienced and deeply felt images, in which we can see the author's personal approach.
This project surprises also by Eliška´s close – almost domestic – glance at the whole issue, despite the fact that the ultra-Orthodox Jews can not even communicate with an unknown woman. That is to say that the work was not without conflicts, but Eliška handled them with admirable endurance of classic photojournalists.
These images allow us to peek behind a curtain of the neighborhood of Mea Shearim, that closes itself from the outside world. The main subtopic of this work is perhaps time itself. Due to strict rules, only very little of extraneous influences penetrate into this society. The time here has stopped in a kind of timelessness – maybe somewhere in the 19th century. Black and white photographs support this feeling adequately.
The images are often captured from complete closeness by using wide-angle lens. Deep knowledge of the subject, enthusiasm and strong effort to look beneath the surface of things are characteristic for this body of work.
The whole introversion here is characterized by one of the most interesting photos of the set – a children's eye peeking alertly through the crack of the door. As if this photograph gripped also the unfortunate history of the Holocaust.
Eliška Blažková in these photographs follows the topic of her precedent project: "Třebíč, the former Jewish ghetto", which today is depopulated. Unlike her previous work, life in the photographs of HAREDIM pulsates in its original rhythm, giving us – the viewers – an opportunity to get into a different world and a different time for a moment.
Doc. MgA. Jan Jindra
Zlín, 20th June 2012
Written for the occasion of the presentation of Eliška Blažková´s final master´s project HAREDIM at Tomas Bata University.
doc. MgA. Jan Jindra
JAN JINDRA (born 1962) is an important Czech photographer and one of the main teachers
of photography at the Faculty of Multimedia Communications, Tomas Bata University in Zlin, Czech Republic. His photographic projects were several times awarded in international competitions and his name indisputably belongs to the list of photographers of international importance. Jindra´s current project "Journeys of Franz Kafka" follows in the footsteps of the renowned Jewish writer, capturing many of the places Kafka visited.