Friday, December 29, 2006

Slow News Week

The Real 770 - photo by Robbins/Becher
click on photo to enlarge

At this time of year, especially in Australia where it is summer, everything slows down especially the news. Despite what is occuring in other parts of the world most of the Australian media outlets concentrate on reporting about sport...actually they do that all year around...

Anyway, Shmais pointed me to the photographs of Andrea Robbins and Max Becher who, in 2005, took photos of many different "770" buildings around the world. Personally, I have never been too excited about this desire to copy the architecture of 770 Eastern Parkway. It seems very shallow to use this building to represent Chabad to the outside world. I would think that we have more to offer than the external view of a "neo-gothic" New York building.

Hanging out in Postville - photo by Robbins/Becher
click on photo to enlarge

What was more interesting to me were the photos of Postville, Iowa taken by Robbins and Becher. Postville is the home of the Rubashkin family's business AgriProcessors Inc. This is one of the largest (maybe the largest) kosher meat producing business in the States.

The description of Postville on the website says, amongst other things:
The plant employs 350 workers, many of whom are ultra orthodox Jews and mostly Lubavitch, making Postville the home of the largest number of Rabbis per capita in the United States.
The Hasidim that came to work in the slaughterhouse brought their lives from Brooklyn and established a modern shtetl in a small corner of Iowa. They set up a synagogue, two schools including a Yeshiva, two ritual baths (one for men and one for women) as well as the first and only kosher market and restaurant in the state of Iowa.
Robbins/Becher's photos have a snapshot quality and, to me, are not particularly artistic but I suppose their point is to show reality rather than a stylised version of what they see thru the lens.

If you scroll down the bar on the left side of the page there are also some photos that they took at Dachau.