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I Am My Family: Photographic Memories and Fictions [Paperback]

Rafael Goldchain
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

July 29 2008
Old family photo albums are fascinating. If you're lucky enough to own one, you've probably spent hours poring overhalf-faded black-and-white portraits of your ancestors, searching for similarities in their facial features and wondering whattheir lives might have been. Unfortunately, not every family has such easy access to their own history. Photographer Rafael Goldchain's Polish-Jewish ancestors emigrated to South America in the 1930s, and many others perished in Polandduring the Naziregime. Also lost in the turmoil of war and emigration were most of the portraits of his extended family.When Goldchain became a parent himself, he decided to make up for this lack of evidence and recreate the lost generations of the past, in the present.

Rafael Goldchain's I Am My Family is a family album of traditional portrait photographs with an unconventional twist: the only subject is Goldchain himself. In an elaborate process involving genealogical research, the use of makeup, hair styling, costume, and props, Goldchain transforms himself into his ancestors and captures their personifications with the camera. Taking some liberties with historical accuracy, Goldchain has assembled a fascinating cast of characters: from his short-story-writing grandfather, to his great-aunts Pola and Fela, to the Rabbi Gur's nephew in wedding dress, Goldchain reinvents himself over and over again. These beautifully reproduced self-portraits trace the evolution of Jewish culture from tradition to modernity and invite us to engage the history of a family decimated and scattered by the traumatic events of the 20th century. Featuring an insightful essay by curator Martha Langford, the portraits are complemented by a selection of the archival images on which they are based as wellas selections from the artist's handwritten sketchbooks.

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About the Author

Born in Santiago, Chile, artist Rafael Goldchain is the program coordinator of the Applied Photography Program at Sheridan Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Oakville, Ontario. Goldchain's photographs have been exhibited internationally and his work is held in numerous private and public collections including the Bibliothèque Nationale of France, the Canadian Museum for Contemporary Photography, and New York's Museum of Modern Art.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice Work. July 1 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I highly recommend this book if you appreciate fine art photography. It's amazing how Rafael plays the part of his family and by using a large format black and white film camera, it really brings this work to life.
You will love this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Aug. 1 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is a splendid and exceptional work of art.
I highly reccomend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I am family ;-) March 16 2011
By Joyce
Although I could clearly have an immediate bias, independent of my connection to the author is the wonderfully unique way in which he has approached and defined the concept of genealogy. Who says history, or history in the making, can't be fun? Rafael Goldchain's creativity and expertise have led him, and his masterful work, around the globe--this exhibition and the hard copy that evolved from it in the form of I am my Family are evidence of his exclusive, yet inclusive, look at family stories and personalities, Old Country and New World, wealthy and raggedly poor, domestic and professional. I am my Family is at once a story, and many stories, told through layers of research, concept development and fruitful result, and the simple desire to know one's roots in history. I highly recommend this book! Well done, Rafi!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous - mature - engaging - enjoyable!!! Oct. 31 2008
By horsedesigner - Published on Amazon.com
The care and attention to the details in the text, the images, the reproductions, the production notes, and the historical references are fabulous!!!

The book is an intimate look into how a true artist thinks, processes, develops and completes a project. As a graduate level photographic educator Rafael's book is an ideal example for MFA students who aspire to developing a world class thesis.

This book shows how photography and digital imaging can be used hand-in-hand to create inspiring images.

I will treasure this book for year's to come.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars I AM MY FAMILY Dec 6 2008
By Emilio Goldchain - Published on Amazon.com
4.0 out of 5 stars I like the book Feb. 10 2014
By Helen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I can see my family in this book, it was an iteresting visual testimoy with very good photographies of the author as a protagonist of his own rooths
5.0 out of 5 stars Hear from Rafael Dec 2 2008
By Heidi Estrin - Published on Amazon.com
I had the pleasure of interviewing Rafael Goldchain about his work for my podcast, The Book of Life. You can hear about the genesis of his portraiture on the November 2008 episode, "Tribalism" at [...]
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