If you have ever wondered what it might be like to explore the Baltic States, Michelle Turner’s current exhibit at Image City Photography Gallery provides an excellent opportunity for you to take a photographic historical journey through the Lithuanian, Latvian, and Estonian images that she is presenting in the Neuberger Gallery.
Michelle’s show features the experiences of people before, during and after World War II, including how they won their independence from Russia through a peaceful revolution. The Baltics survived the Nazi Holocaust only to be occupied by the Soviets for fifty years, which resulted in a less known Holocaust. Hundreds of thousands of Baltic citizens were executed or deported to Siberia during those years. Michelle met many people, but she says “One of the most memorable experiences of the trip was listening to the stories of a 90+ year old woman, who with her family, had been deported to Siberia as a young child.” Michelle has included a photo of this woman, entitled, Latvian Survivor of Soviet Siberia. This image creates an opportunity for the viewer to have a discussion about the difficult history of these countries.
Though Michelle was “saddened by the dispirited demeanor of so many of the elderly who have survived so much, her display also includes images that are her “impression of Lithuania and Latvia as they are today.” Michelle was impressed by “the energy and enthusiasm of the young people.”
Photographically, Michelle enjoys her image entitled Mysterious Window, because it makes viewers stop to try to figure out what is happening to create the flaming golden colors beyond the window.”
When Michelle reflects on the numerous memorials that she photographed, it was challenging for her to decide which memorials to include. Rather than center the exhibit entirely about the tragic history, she decided to include just one memorial image, Rumbula, as it is one of “the most striking memorials to one of the worst massacres.”
As visitors view Michelle’s exhibit, many have been amazed by the beauty and poignancy of the images and the emotions that they evoke. The photographs capture the essence of the Baltic culture, its rich history and its people. Michelle’s display is a must-see for anyone fascinated by photography, culture and history. It is a reminder of the importance of capturing and preserving the culture that surrounds us.
Besides frequently exhibiting at Image City, Michelle has exhibited in the Osher Building at RIT and in various Camera Rochester exhibits. Please write your questions or comments about Michelle’s exhibit in the comment box below.