Harry Borden’s portraits of Holocaust survivors.
Exactly 75 years after the liberation of Auschwitz and while a international forum is held at the Jewish Holocaust memorial of Yad Vashem those images and testimonies are more than ever topical.
Borden only discovered his Jewish ancestry as a teenager and has never approached the subject before. Indeed, his career has been in commercial and editorial work, rather than conceptual portraiture, through long relationships with The New Yorker, Vogue and Time.
“At the age of 40, having spent half my life photographing famous people, I wanted to do something with meaning,” he says. “I grew up on a farm in Devon in England. My dad, Charlie, was a resolutely atheist Jew who derived nothing from his background except a fear of anti Semitism. “When I was a boy, he once told me that the Nazis would have killed us. I was shocked. I attended a Church of England primary school, sang in the choir and had always considered myself a Christian like my mum.
“I think it was my dad’s ambivalence towards this heritage – and his disturbing revelation that it had once been deemed punishable by death – that really motivated me to create this body of work.”