Publication of catalog a milestone in documenting Israeli camera arts
September 11, 2012—Gérard Allon, recently published by Harvard’s Judaica Division, captures the work of one of the most prominent figures in contemporary Israeli photography, Gérard Allon. Gérard Allon, born in Morocco in 1949, emigrated from Algiers to France, where he began experimenting with photography. He settled in Israel at age 24 and, with a generation of his young contemporary photographers, created cosmopolitan photography based on Western canons, and he was quickly recognized as a leading commercial photographer. Allon expanded to stage photography and was appointed as house photographer for the Israel National Theater Ha-Bimah. He also worked for other theaters including the Cameri Theater, the Yiddish Theater and the Jerusalem Khan Theater.
The catalog focuses on Allon’s work in recording Israel’s vibrant theatrical scene. Artistic works in their own right, Allon’s photographs document over three decades of Israeli theatrical productions which—in addition to original Israeli Hebrew plays—include a large number of plays from world literature presented in Hebrew translation. This focus reflects the Judaica Division’s efforts to document the Israeli theater in great depth. In addition to over a half million photographs (digitized from negatives as well as recent “born digital”) of Israeli theatrical productions, Harvard’s collection includes thousands of programs, playbills, scripts, posters, other ephemera and video recordings.
In addition to photographs, Gérard Allon includes an introduction by Nissan N. Perez, senior curator in the department of photography at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and one of Israel’s most distinguished authorities on photographs, as well as a personal statement from Allon. There are also extensive inventories of the 73,000 images of Allon’s works in the Harvard Library by topic and by title.
Gérard Allon is part of the Judaica Division’s intensive effort over the last decade to develop an archive of visual resources that document Jewish history and culture, with a special emphasis on the State of Israel. The result of this effort to date is an archive of some 3.6 million digital images, freely available online.
About the Judaica Division
The Harvard Judaica Division collects in great depth materials covering all aspects of Jewish life and culture in every place and period, with particular comprehensive coverage of Jewish life and culture in the State of Israel. These materials, from all parts of the world, in all languages, include books, pamphlets, periodicals, microfilms, maps, newspapers, posters, broadsides, photographs, microforms, sound recordings, videotapes, electronic databases and other ephemera. Special emphasis is placed on materials in Hebrew, particularly from the State of Israel, which constitutes the single largest component of the Judaica Collection.