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Seek, and Ye Shall Find Even More Questions: An Interview with Photographer Hannah Altman

By Emma Newbery

Published Mar 22, 2023

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Seek, and Ye Shall Find Even More Questions

(36 min) In this episode of All Alone With Something to Say, Emma is joined by photographer and educator Hannah Altman to discuss the beauty of Jewish thought and the power of ritual as captured in art. As two Jewish creatives, Emma and Hannah share their own experiences of ritual practice and discuss the importance of highlighting the role of Jewish women in art and religion.

 

Hannah Altman is a Jewish-American artist from New Jersey. She holds an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her photographs portray lineage, folklore, memory, and narrative. She has recently exhibited with the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art, Blue Sky Gallery, Filter Photo, and Athens Photo Festival. Her work has been featured in publications including Vanity Fair, Artforum, Huffington Post, and the British Journal of Photography. She received the Lensculture Critics’ Choice Award 2021 and the Portraits Hellerau Photography Award 1st Prize 2022. Her photobook Kavana (2020), published by Kris Graves Projects, is in the permanent collections of the MoMA Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art Thomas J Watson Library. She is the Yale University 2022-23 Blanksteen Artist in Residence at the Slifka Center.

Washing the Dead (Funeral for a Beetle)

Above: Hannah Altman’s 2019 photograph “Washing the Dead (Funeral for a Beetle)”.

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Emma Newbery is a podcast host and producer with Jewish Rhody Media. She is the creator of the podcast All Alone With Something to Say, and her work can be found on Spotify and Apple Podcasts, as well as in Dig Boston, The Boston Hassle, Jewish Rhode Island, and through Kingston Gallery. Her work focuses on religion, cultu...

Reflections

For artists:

How does your own religious background inform how you approach and produce your work? Does it affect how you view work with another or more overt religious lens?

For museum-goers:

How does photography in particular amplify aspects of the human experience of ritual? Can you think of ways that common components of photographs like light, shadow, and contrast affect how we perceive their contents?

For synagogue-goers:

Do you think that re-imagined and abstract versions of Jewish traditions strengthen or warp the original practice? Can you think of some reasons why both might be true?

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