Loli Kantor ( né Lola Kantor ) is a fine art and documentary photographer based in Fort Worth, Texas. Born in Paris, France, and raised in Tel Aviv, Israel and in Buffalo, NY, she has been living in the United States since 1984.
Kantor’s project spanning 2004-2012, focuses on the renaissance of Jewish life and culture in Central and Eastern Europe, especially in Poland and Ukraine. The work was printed in palladium and in colour.
Kantor’s work has been exhibited widely in the United States and internationally in China, Poland, Ukraine, Spain and the Czech Republic. In 2010 she was named one of the top 50 photographers in PhotoLucida’s Critical Mass competition and won Reviewers’ Choice Award at PhotoNOLA. Her work was honored with an award of excellence for her solo exhibition in the 2009 Lishui International Photography Festival in China. Her work has been featured in publications such as LensWork (issue no. 87) with an exclusive interview. A limited edition artist book was published in January 2009. Kantor’s photography is included in museum collections such as the Harry Ransom Center, Austin, Texas; The Museum of Fine Art, Houston; Lishui Photography Museum, China, Lviv National Museum, Ukraine, The Center for Fine Art Photography in Colorado, and in private collections in the United States and internationally.
A forthcoming Monograph entitled: Beyond The Forest, will be published by the University of Texas Press in Fall 2014, with an introduction by the Polish art historian and curator Anda Rottenberg, and an essay by American novelist Joseph Skibell.
This project, "MotherLand," was spurred by my fading understanding of how the Holocaust shaped my childhood, and our human experience. It started as I was tracing the footsteps of my family, which led me to photograph the struggling Jewish communities of the former Soviet Union, particularly Poland, and more recently, Ukraine. There, faith, history, horror, toil and the landscape blend into one.
MotherLand, is a photographic exploration of the continuing impact that the Holocaust and the subsequent Soviet Regime had on the remaining Jewish population of Eastern Europe. The work explores the survival of a culture following a catastrophic event, where the majority of a population disappeared. It focuses on the aging child Survivors of the Holocaust, who are entering their seventies, living in small Shtetls of Eastern Europe, isolated from their lost ancestors and from their émigré descendents. Once the inhabitants of these small communities are gone, Jewish life in the Shtetl will cease to exist.
The images I am making start as I place myself within the Jewish cultural landscape. They draw upon the collective loss and my own personal loss. The resulting image is neither a document of what is in front of my lens, nor is it simplistic portrayal of my own emotions. It is hybrid born of elements, the place, the people, my experience, the history that surrounds me and the loss that echoes across the landscape.
The photographs are made with black and white film, unenlarged negatives, contact printed in platinum/palladium, size ranging from 6cmx12cm, 6cmx18cm and 4x5 inches.