“…the private, intriguing, strong visual interpretation”

the Magnum Agency siteHonoree Małgorzata Niezabitowska is the award-winning co-author with her photographer husband Tomasz Tomaszewski of Remnants – The Last Jews of Poland, one of the first books to recognize and explore contemporary Jewish life in Poland, Solidarity activist, and a Council Member of the award-winning Museum of the History of Polish Jews, whose core exhibition opens in October (2014) in Warsaw. National Geographic published a cover story about Remnants in September 1986, when Niezabitowska was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard; but until now, she has never publicly told the story of how the manuscript was smuggled out. (Tad Taube, Chairman of Taube Philanthropies and Honorary Consul for the Republic of Poland in San Francisco.)

NG forside september 1986

I happened to read the above quoted article back in 1986 and had the courage to contact Tomasz Tomaszewski in 2008 after a visit to Poland:

Hello,
For some time ago I came across your and your wife’s article The Last Jews of Poland in National Geographic.I found it very interesting. Last May I gave it away to a Polish friend, living in Sopot. Her husband has Jewish roots. My wife and I were fortunate and had the chance to visit Poland with some friends in 2006. We had a great week. I bought a book, “Poland 1946” by the American photograph John Vachon, in Warsaw. I only know Polish history from your article, Vachons book and a visit in Muzeum Powstania Warszawskiego. I’m a devoted amateur photographer constantly striving to be better and “crack the code”. I’m always looking for potential mentors who might be willing to give me some feedback. I admire your work. May I ask if you would be so kind and spare me a moment of your time and look through my “Poland Gallery” and, give me your honest opinion and if I may hope so, an advice on how to progress.Kind regards, Stein

I think more People than me should read TT’s answer and advice to me:

Dear Mr. Stein,
thank you for your email. I’m late with the answer because I was away for a month on a trip to Africa. I’m back now going rough may emails, so the answer to yours will be quick. You should come to one of the workshop I do with National Geographic. The next one is in Tuscany, Italy in May. You should look at the NG site to see the Schedule. You know a great deal concerning the technical aspect of photography, but your pictures are more of a document of how things look like rather then the interpretation of them. It is 21 century, so we pretty know how the planet looks like but what remains interesting is the private, intriguing, strong visual interpretation. Look at the Magnum Agency site, or the site of agency VII and you will understand what I’m talking about. Or simply come over to the workshop. All the best to you,
Tomasz

PS
I never did go to Tuscany, but I have I’ve kept his advice in my mind.Remnants

“The Last Jews of Poland” – This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS Device.

 

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