Here and There . Jillian Edelstein



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The year in which photographer Jillian Edelstein turned 40 she came across an image of her great aunt Minna, of whose existence she had been unaware. The photograph of Minna became the catalyst for a journey to unearth her family history and the discovery of an unknown branch of her family living in Ukraine. Here and There documents Edelstein’s family odyssey and expands to encompass photographs made throughout her career, inextricably linked by the thread of human displacement.
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‘All my life people have asked me about my origins. Frequently they try to guess. ‘You must be Spanish?No…then Greek?…No…Italian…Arab?’ And on it goes as they study my thick, dark hair, olive skin and dark eyes. Finally, I started replying,‘Russian-Jewish,’ without any knowledge of what it actually meant. I knew my family had originally come from a shtetl-type place somewhere in Russia a long time before my parents were born. But that was all.’

 In 2002, the same year that Edelstein had discovered Minna's photograph, she was commissioned to photograph the South African Sangoma shamans, whose rituals employ the intermediary healing powers of their ancestors. A shaman told Edelstein that her own ancestors were in conflict, fuelling her growing determination to untangle her family's hidden history. Thus Edelstein began a journey that took her from her home in London to the heartland of the Ukraine, and to her grandfather’s birthplace in Latvia. In turn the journey led her to the shores of Lesvos, the West Bank, the Jungle in Calais, to the boat graveyard on the island of Lampedusa. In Here and There, Edelstein refracts images and stories of displaced people through the lens of her family’s own mystery—reaching the refugee history we all have in common, whether its details are known or not.

Here and There . Jillian Edelstein

Published January 2024
245 x 190 mm portrait
264pp, 166 images
ISBN 978-1-915423-00-9

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