Transfer of Memory: photographer David Sherman speaks at MNSU

Mansoor Ahmad
Staff Photographer

Renowned editorial and sports photographer David Sherman visited Minnesota State University, Mankato as a guest speaker Tuesday, Oct. 17. Sherman spoke to a group of students and faculty explaining his inspiration for the exhibit, which consists of formal portraits of Holocaust survivors and their stories from their time under the Nazis.

Sherman came up with the idea for the exhibit to photograph Holocaust survivors now living in Minnesota, and teamed up with writer Lili Chester, whose parents are also survivors of the Holocaust, who wrote the text accompanying the formal, but intimate portraits.

Sherman said it was the first time he “thought of art” when it came to his photography. He wanted to make sure his career wasn’t just full of editorial work, but also something that had a deeper meaning.

Going over some of the photos in the exhibit, Sherman explained how every survivor was similar, yet different. For example, survivor Charles Fodor said that love is, “the kindness of a stranger.” Fodor was about to enter a building in Budapest with his grandmother when a stranger told him not to enter it, and instead asked them to leave. He would later get to know that everyone in the building was shot and killed.

Since many students in the audience were photography students, Sherman also went over technical details of his photographs. He pointed out the minimal post production some of the photos went through, and also shared the black and white photographs he took of the survivors.

The black and white photos, however, weren’t used in the exhibition as Sherman and his team wanted to show the survivors in their present state, displaying vitality, opting to go with the color photographs.

Answering a student’s question, Sherman explained how many survivors were initially reluctant to get their photographs taken. But after Sherman produced the first 20 or so portraits, a number of people with European Jewish backgrounds expressed interest in getting photographed for the exhibit.

When asked about how his work for the exhibit translates into his regular assignments of photographing the Minnesota Timberwolves, Sherman said he was more inclined towards creating a legacy of his own using his artistic skills, and that while photographing the Timberwolves is amazing, at the end of the day, “it’s just basketball”.

The “Transfer of Memory” exhibit will go on until Oct. 23 in the CSU Art Gallery, located on the lower level. The exhibit is free and open to students and public.

Header photo by Antonio Haskell | MSU Reporter.

Mansoor Ahmad

Mansoor is a photographer who likes telling stories even when none of his friends are interested in listening. He likes photographing sports and concerts, and is down for basketball any given day.

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