Film and Media
Office: Visual Ars Bldg 135
Additional Contact Information
- MFA, Photography, Stanford University, Stanford, CA, 1998
- BA, Philosophy, Columbia University, New York, NY, 1989
For the past twenty years, I have balanced an ambitious career as a photographer, a writer, an independent curator, and an educator. These pursuits are complementary and interconnected. Most of my work lies within the documentary tradition broadly understood, and many of my recent projects grapple with the challenges of historical memory through images. My photoworks draw on a wide range of photographic genres and technologies, and are often accompanied by writings that likewise incorporate a variety of textual forms, from critical to historical and philosophical. My photoworks, curatorial projects, and writings on photography, visual culture and contemporary art are represented on my website, www.jasonfrancisco.net.The most encompassing project on which I am currently at work, Alive and Destroyed (2010-2015), wrestles with the long afterlife of genocide, specifically the destruction of the European Jews during the Second World War. The project looks into the contemporary geography of the Holocaust in its epicenter in southern Poland and western Ukraine––what Timothy Snyder calls the “Bloodlands” in his 2010 book about the region subjected to both the Nazi and Soviet regimes in alternating waves of occupation. The project is equally empirical and conceptual in its reach. As a matter of documentation, it focuses on the smaller and often forgotten locations where the genocide largely occurred––in towns and village ghettos, slave labor camps, transit and subcamps, forest massacre sites, deportation routes––in addition to the more notorious and centrifugal sites of memory like the death camps at Auschwitz, Sobibór, Bełżec, and Majdanek. In this way, Alive and Destroyed works to de-centralize the image of the Holocaust, showing it to have penetrated into every town and every community in occupied Europe, without exception. Conceptually, the project understands photography as a cultural force for conveying loss and absence as much as witness and presence, and so seeks to direct the contingency of the photographic image toward historical experience that is intrinsically volatile, destitute and unresolved. Visually, Alive and Destroyed pivots on an unusual approach to the documentary image. Made with a large format camera, the images are at once descriptive and inchoate, abrupt and elusive, declarative and tentative––toward a type of non-conclusive knowing appropriate to the ruptures that are constitutive of the subject. Accompanying each photograph is a short essay concerning the site pictured, drawn from my research, and the work as a whole will be accompanied by a longer essay on the problems and imperatives of remembrance of genocide through images.
2014 An Unfinished Memory: Jewish Heritage and the Holocaust in Eastern Galicia, Galicia Jewish Museum, Kraków.
2012 The Steerage and Alfred Stieglitz, University of California Press, as part of the series “Defining Moments in American Photography,” edited by Anthony W. Lee.
2006 Far from Zion: Jews, Diaspora, Memory, Stanford University Press.
Selected Articles in Photography and Visual Studies
2014 “Polin,” a review of Warsaw’s new Museum of the History of Polish Jews, published on www.jasonfrancisco.net, and widely recirculated.
2014 “Płaszów,” in EUtROPEs: The Paradox of European Empire, Eds. John W. Boyer and Berthold Molden, Paris, Cahiers Parisiens, 2014.
2014 “War Photography in the 20th Century: A Short Critical Introduction,” novelmasters.org, September 27.
2014 “Art and Armor,” novelmasters.org, July 27.
2014 “Revolution in Ukraine: The View from Lviv,” Social Text, March 20.
2013 “Art and Armor––Piercing Rounds,” essay by Patrick Blanchfield, photographs by Jason Francisco, The Daily Beast, April 24, www.thedailybeast.com/articles.
2013 Review essay, Laurence Salzmann’s “Echeleganas: A Life Left Behind,” The Photo Review, Vol. 30, No. 1.
2013 Review essay, Constance Thalken’s 1.2 cm at Whitespace Gallery, Atlanta, www.artsatl.com, February 4.
2012 Review essay, Kael Alford’s Bottom of da Boot, Arthur Grace’s America 101, and recent publications of Fall Line Press, www.artsatl.com, December 17.
2012 Review essay, “The Other Side of the Torah,” The Times of Israel, September 3, blogs.timesofisrael.com
2011 Review essay, Ralph Gibson’s “Quartets” at the High Museum of Art, www.artsatl.com, November 28.
2011 Review essay, Sally Mann’s “Proud Flesh” at Jackson Fine Art, www.artsatl.com, September 13.
2011 Review essay, “Bernard Aptekar’s ‘Portraits of an Intellectual and Political Landscape’ at the Galicia Jewish Museum, Kraków, Krakow Post, May 24th, www.krakowpost.com/article/2553.
2011 Review essay, “‘Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century,’ major retrospective at the High Museum of Art,”www.artsatl.com, February 20th.
2010 Review essay, “Photographers Angela West and Roger Ballen at Jackson Fine Art,” www.artsatl.com, November 10th.
2010 Review essay, “Chris Verene’s ‘Family’ at Marcia Wood Gallery,” www.artsatl.com, October 13th.
Review essay, “Michael David Murphy at Spruill Gallery,” www.artsatl.com, October 5th.
2007 “Teaching Photography as Art,” American Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, vol. 21 no. 3 (Fall 2007): 19-24.
2005 “War Photography,” in Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Photography, New York, Routledge.
2004 “The Shock of the Posthumous: Vladimir Syomin's Caucasus Project,” in Diane Neumaier, ed., Beyond Memory: Photo-related Works from the Norton and Nancy Dodge Collection of Nonconformist Art from the Soviet Union, Rutgers University Press, 2004, pp. 207-218.
2003 “Of Cheroots and Current Coins: Reconsidering the Photography of Colonial India.” Exposure, Journal of the Society of Photographic Education, Volume 36:1, 10-22.
Selected Recent Exhibitions
2015 “An Unifinished Memory: Jewish Heritage and the Holocaust in Eastern Galicia,” Lviv Palace of Arts, Lviv, Ukraine, August-September.
2015 “The Golden Rose,” presented as street installation at the site of the famous destroyed synagogue, Lviv, Ukraine, from February 2015.
2014 “An Unfinished Memory: Jewish Heritage and the Holocaust in Eastern Galicia,” (solo), permanent exhibition for the Galicia Jewish Museum, Kraków.
2014 “Surviving in Lwów: One Childhood Remembered,” Lviv Center for Urban History, Lviv, Ukraine, September-October (solo).
2013 “These are the Names: Photographs on a Murder Epidemic in Philadelphia,” PH21 Gallery, Budapest, Hungary, April-May (solo).
2011 “World Documents: Contemporary Documentary Photography,” Mt. Holyoke College Art Museum, October-December.
Selected Recent Lectures
2014 “Re-examining the Jewish past in contemporary Polish Galicia: A Response to the Legacy of Chris Schwarz,” Galicia Jewish Museum, Kraków, December 3.
2014 “Reconstructing Jewish Ukraine in Contemporary Kraków,” including panel discussion with Dr. Erica Lehrer (Concordia University, Canada) and Dr. Jonathan Webber (Jagiellonian University), Department of Anthropology, Literature and Cultural Research, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, November 25
2014 “Picturing Aftermath,” Department of Anthropology, Literature and Cultural Research, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, June 11.
2014 “The Photography of Aftermath,” Center for Urban History, Lviv, Ukraine, April 24.
2014 “Visualizing Jewish Poland: Some Comments and Complications,” Państwowa Wyższa Szkoła Techniczno - Ekonomiczna, Jarosław, Poland, January 23.
2012 “The Photography of Aftermath,” Tyler School of Art, Temple University, March 9.
2012 “Creative Lives and Careers,” Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, October 2.
2012 “The Photography of Aftermath,” Georgia State University, January 26.
2011 “Photographing Diaspora,” symposium for the exhibition “World Documents,” Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, September 16.
2011 Conversations with Contemporary Artists, High Museum of Art, Atlanta, March 19.
2011 “Henri Cartier-Bresson as Journalist,” High Museum of Art, Atlanta, February 19.
2011 Art and Censorship: A Screening of David Wojnarowicz’s A Fire in My Belly; keynote and panelist, February 17.
2010 “Photography and the Shoah: A Critical Introduction,” Atlanta Celebrates Photography, October 14.
2014 An Unfinished Memory: Jewish Heritage and the Holocaust in Eastern Galicia. Conceived, designed, photographed and wrote new permanent exhibition for the Galicia Jewish Museum, Kraków.
2011-2012 Lead curator of On the Other Side of the Torah: Wartime Portraits from Tübingen, Jewish Museum, Kraków, Poland, September-November. Conceived, designed, researched, wrote all texts, extensive video interviews.
2009-2010 Curator of The Lucid Eye: A Year of Photography at Emory, 2009-2010, a series of five exhibitions plus related programming at the Visual Arts Gallery, Emory University.
Curator of The Last Album by Ann Weiss, installed at five locations at Emory University, including the Visual Arts Gallery
Selected Recent Photoworks and Hybrid Writings (all available at www.jasonfrancisco.net)
Ongoing Alive and Destroyed (2010-ongoing)
A Chinatown Document (1990-ongoing)
2015 As from Bridges
2014 Come Winter
Warsaw Picture Show
A Book of November
The Golden Rose
Myself among the Churchgoers
Revolution in Ukraine: The View from Lviv
The Jewish as Enigma: Some Findings and Comments
Questions for Podgórze
Citizens of Jarosław
To Go to Lviv
Life Suddenly Opens
A Poem for Asya
From a Fiddle Rose: Poems of Sutzkever
2013 These are the Names: Photographs from a Murder Epidemic in Philadelphia
A Land of Shadows: Looking into Chinese American California
Camps and Abstraction: Letters on Art and Atrocity
Time in Płaszów
The Heavy Rose: Time in Philadelphia
East and Back, a trilogy:
Book 1: The Woman on the Other Side of the Modern Century and Other Pictures from a Very Long Poem
Book 2: The Orphan Kaddish
Book 3: My Animal, My Age
2012 After the American Century (2001-2011)
A Germantown Document (2002-2012)
The March: Revisiting the Route from Selma to Montgomery
Report from Gniewczyna
2011 Zeiss Ikon and Other Stories
Book 1: Zeiss Ikon
Book 2: Shabbes Goy
Book 3: Strawberry Mansion
Book 4: A Free Man
Book 5: The Garden
Book 6: A Second Chance
2010 Surviving in Lwów: One Childhood Remembered