For Immediate Release

Peabody Museum Names Miki Kratsman as the 2011 Robert Gardner Fellow in Photography

“I shot with a lens used in Israeli Defense Forces unmanned aerial vehicles. The image I capture is, I imagine, very similar to the one seen by the Israeli soldier..."

– Miki Kratsman, 2011 Robert Gardner Fellow in Photography

(Cambridge, April 29, 2011) The Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology is pleased to announce the selection of the 2011 Robert Gardner Fellow in Photography. Following an international search, the Gardner Fellowship committee awarded the Fellowship to Miki Kratsman, a prize-winning Argentinean-born photographer who has lived in Israel since 1971. His work has appeared in the Venice Art Biennale, and in solo exhibitions from Tel Aviv to Seoul , Madrid, and New York. Kratsman will create a project called Palestinian Semblance (working title).

Since 1986, Kratsman has covered the occupied territories as a photographer for several newspapers, mostly for the Schoken Group, publishers of Ha'aretz newspaper. Over the years, he has photographed Palestinians at demonstrations, daily activities, celebrations, funerals, for profile story portraits, and more.

During his Fellowship, Kratsman will create a portfolio of photographs that explore how Palestinians appear to the eye of the beholder, whether that person is a passerby, a newspaper reader, or an Israeli soldier. In one group, Kratsman will present Palestinians as targets, shot with a lens used by Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) unmanned aerial vehicles. In another group, Kratsman will isolate images of those identified as shahids or martyrs as portrayed on neighborhood posters or placards. A third group takes inspiration from Francois Aubert's photograph of the shirt of Maximilian, ruler of Mexico, just after his execution in 1867; each of these will feature the last piece of clothing worn by a Palestinian before he was killed. The final group builds on Kratsman’s discovery that many of the Palestinians he’s photographed over the decades have been killed; in a field study, he will ask Palestinians to mark his photos to indicate who is “wanted,” a victim, or a shahid, and these marked photos will complete the portfolio.

“Kratsman’s photographs are unique,” says visual culture writer Ariella Azoulay. His “decisions are torn between the professional duty to photograph in any circumstance and the civil duty to not let his gaze obediently follow the agendas of media and political discourse. He always reminds the spectator that the occupation of Palestinian Territories is the background story for all events taking place there.”

Prof. William L. Fash, William and Muriel Seabury Howells Director of the Peabody Museum, noted, "The recent tragedies in Libya have reminded the world at large of the risk as well as the courage that is involved in photo journalism in contested territories. Argentinian-Israeli photographer Miki Kratsman is no stranger to these, and the Peabody Museum is pleased to support him in this daring and original exploration of ‘the human condition' in one of the most complicated landscapes on Earth."

About the Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography
The Fellowship funds an “established practitioner of the photographic arts to create and subsequently publish through the Peabody Museum a major book of photographs on the human condition anywhere in the world.” The Fellowship committee invites nominations from experts around the world; nominees are reviewed and selected by a committee of three. The Fellowship provides a stipend of $50,000. The fellowship is unique in its dedication to funding professional documentary photography.

The Fellowship was given by Robert Gardner, award-winning documentary filmmaker and author, whose works have entered the permanent canon of non-fiction filmmaking. Gardner’s works include the documentary films “Dead Birds” and “Forest of Bliss” and books The Impulse to Preserve: Reflections of a Filmmaker and Making Dead Birds: Chronicle of a Film. In the 1970s Gardner produced and hosted “Screening Room,” a series of more than one hundred 90-minute programs on independent and experimental filmmaking. The series, considered an invaluable historical record of modern cinema, has been transferred to digital format for archival preservation by the Museum of Film and Broadcasting in New York City. Robert Gardner received Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from Harvard University and was director of the Film Study Center from 1957 to 1997. He was also founder and long-time director of the Carpenter Center for Visual Arts and taught the Visual Arts at Harvard for almost 40 years. Gardner is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. His most recent book is Just Representations (Peabody Museum Press and Studio7Arts 2010), a collection of Gardner’s short prose pieces about film and anthropology.

Robert Gardner Fellowship Recipients

2007 Guy Tillim (South Africa). Tillim’s Fellowship took him to five African countries, documenting the grand colonial architecture and how it has become part of a contemporary African stage. An exhibition of his Fellowship work, Avenue Patrice Lumumba, was shown at the Peabody Museum last year, and is published in Avenue Patrice Lumumba (Peabody Museum Press and Prestel 2009).

2008 Dayanita Singh (India). Singh photographs the India that is slipping through the cracks, unnoticed and uncelebrated, in the rush to keep up, globalize, and westernize. Peabody Museum Press is currently working with Singh on a publication of her Fellowship work.

2009 Alessandra Sanguinetti (USA/Argentina). Sanguinetti is continuing a multi-year profile of two girls living in rural Argentina and their wider social networks for a project called, “The Life That Came.”

2010 Stephen Dupont (Australia). Dupont is creating a study of cultural erosion as well as a celebration of the Melanesian people in Guns and Arrows: The Detribalization of Papua New Guinea.

About the Peabody Museum
Robert Gardner writes, “Fifty years ago, by inaugurating the Film Study Center, the Peabody Museum at Harvard University placed its confidence in the notion that anthropology would benefit from stepping
into a visual world. The center became known for making films such as Dead Birds, Moving Pictures, Nicaragua, The Nuer, and many others, while all the time undertaking still photography as a less central but no less indispensable way to carry out the center’s original purposes. This long time later, it is fitting to acknowledge the role that photography has played in the center’s work during the last half century.”

The Peabody Museum is among the oldest archaeological and ethnographic museums in the world with one of the finest collections of human cultural history found anywhere. It is home to superb materials from Africa, ancient Europe, North America, Mesoamerica, Oceania, and South America in particular. In addition to its archaeological and ethnographic holdings, the Museum’s photographic archives, one of the largest of its kind, hold more than 500,000 historical photographs, dating from the mid-nineteenth century to the present and chronicling anthropology, archaeology, and world culture.

Hours and location: 9 A.M. to 5 P.M., seven days a week. The Museum is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Admission is $9 for adults, $7 for students and seniors, $6 for children, 3–18. Free with Harvard ID or Museum membership. The Museum is free to Massachusetts residents Sundays, 9 A.M. to noon, year round, and Wednesdays from 3 P.M. to 5 P.M. (September to May). Admission includes admission to the Harvard Museum of Natural History. For more information call 617-496-1027 or go online to: The Peabody Museum is located at 11 Divinity Avenue in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Museum is a short walk from the Harvard Square MBTA station.

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Media Contact:

Faith Sutter
Communications Coordinator
Peabody Museum
Tel: 617-495-3397




Man walks on the passage, from Targeted Killing. Photo by Miki Kratsman.

High resolution images available on request. 

See some of Miki Kratsman's photographs