TestimonyPhotographs by Gillian Laub
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"To consider [these] images is to be reminded not just of human cruelty and human stupidity but also of human tenacity." –David Reiff
For the past four years, Gillian Laub has worked in Israel and Palestine. Testimony contains fifty of her portraits of Israeli Jews, Israeli Arabs, displaced Lebanese families, and Palestinians—each personally affected by the geopolitical context in which they live, and each an essential element in the puzzle of Middle East peace.
In some of Laub's photographs, the traces of conflict are immediately observable—teenage boys without limbs; a young woman enveloped in scar tissue and a burn-recovery suit. Others are seemingly free from the disfigurements of violence. Yet in the interviews that accompany each portrait, a common thread of survival is revealed. Resilience, pride, defiance, vulnerability—and most astonishing of all, optimism—emerge from one statement to the next.
Two essays, one by Palestinian-Israeli civil rights lawyer Raef Zreik and one by Israeli professor Ariella Azoulay, underline the complexity of the work and the dialogue Laub hopes it will spark.
GILLIAN LAUB's portraits have appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, Time, and the New Yorker. Laub graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in comparative literature, before studying photography at the International Center of Photography. She is represented by Bonni Benrubi Gallery, New York.