Yevgeniy Veprinsky – Our Jews 2018

Yevgeniy Veprinsky, “My Jews” – exhibition. November 20, 2018.

“My Jews” – this exhibition of portraits, photographed by Eugene Veprinsky, was conducted by Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) together with Jewish Guild of Folk Craftsmen. JCRC not only provided a venue for the exhibition, but also their director, Mikhail Nemirovsky was a speaker at this presentation.

He started with words, that this exhibition is a long-waited event, because it combines both the efforts of Jewish Art Guild, and depicts JCRC mission – which is not only to work with Jews, but also to relate other nations and community with ours Jewish. He presented Evgeniy Veprin as a remarkable photo artist, interesting person, who captures our life in photos – day by day, hour by hour, minute by minutes, etc. And what we see today, as he mentioned – that’s unique achievement.

The major accent of Eugene’s work is made on known people in our Jewish community, and beyond. Euegene makes every photo with love, and with human professionalism. In fact, not all people photographed by Evgeniy are well known. Some of them are just Jews and non-Jews who gave an inspiration to Evgeniy for a photo portrait.

Then Mikhail gave highlight of what his organization do, about their joint work with “Let My People Go” movements. Maybe thanks to them – we are now all in USA, and sitting at this table. Many people could be found at this table, and different painting could be found on those walls, and what one photographed by Evgeniy – are typical representatives of those Jews.

After Mikhail’s introductory, Evgeniy shared his bio. His started to photograph when after World War II, his father brought him a German trophy, still photo camera as a gift in 1947. Photography was only film based that time, and required materials (such as films, developing fluids) were extremely hard to find. So, on one of the Days Eugene was crafty enough to invent his own recipe for developing fluid, since most of his free time was devoted to photography. Since 1975 the “Evening Kiev” newspaper started to publish Eugene’s photos. Other media, like “Radyan’skay Ukraina” Soviet Ukriane, Ukriane Journal – also gladly used Eugene’s works. Before he immigrated.

In 1999 Russian Bazar newspaper announced a photo contest, where Eugene suggested a couple of his photo works, which were made still in Kiev. Newspaper screeners were amazed by photos, and awarded the First Place to Eugene. Other media became interested in Eugene’s works, and started to publish them. Eugene had 10 to 20 personal exhibition.

Then Eugene started to speak about switching from black and white to color photo. It was a bit challenging task on choosing what to scene to capture according to it’s colors. Then another transition from film to digital photography – goes. It was pretty easy, since the only task of photographer is to find needed composition, light condition, and shooting point – then just press a button. If something appears not so perfect, editing software such as photoshop – comes to help.

The main purpose of photographic artist is not only to use proper techniques to capture, develop, and retouch the image, but also to choose what to capture. I.e. to find a moment where the object of photography, in our case human being looking in camera – looks the best. On many photos, made by Eugene people are photographed very living, as they are. For example, Dina Rubina, very known Russian writer who lives in Israel is depicted in the middle of her talk. Photo reporter – is just looking at his camera thinking how to make his frame perfect. In “Musical Lesson” photo, the teacher looks straight in a camera which his student is simply playing violin looking thoughtfully in music scores. Holocaust witness is also shown in the middle of his talk. Probably the man recalls those terrible moment he survived, but face expression of the witness is very positive, because he is living and can speak about this.  Face of Rudolf Furman, poet known in Russian community, tells how does he enjoy the life, what we can read of his poetry.

As presentation speaker mentioned, we select the most expressive and depictive works of art and photo. “I look on those faces on photos and I am glad to see them” some of them are living now, some unfortunately passed away. The magic of photography is to stop a moment for centuries.

“You are not merely photo reporter, you are a photo artist, Eugene” this is the most memorable phrase of the even speaker.