By Mark Seliger
Mark Seliger is a world-renowned photographer who has shot numerous covers and spreads for GQ, Vanity Fair, Vogue Hommes, Interview and British Elle as well as many celebrity portraits. Seliger was also chief photographer for Rolling Stone, where he shot more than 100 covers. He has published several books such as “In My Stairwell,” “Physignomy” and “When They Came to Take My Father,” which was the inspiration for this exhibit.
Seliger was born in Amarillo, Texas and moved to Houston, where he would later attend the High School for Performing and Visual Arts. He often visited Three Brothers Bakery, which was owned by Max, Sol and Sigmund Jucker. The Juckers were Holocaust survivors, and the numbers that were tattooed on the brothers’ arms sparked Seliger's interest.
When he was 16, Seliger went on a pilgrimage to Auschwitz and took photographs. Unfortunately, those pictures were lost, but this experience heavily influenced his decision to photograph survivors and publish the book “When They Came to Take My Father.”
The black-and-white portraits in this exhibit capture the inner strength as well as the terrible and haunting past of the featured survivors. They share the intense truths of their lives and survival with the viewer through the camera and their personal accounts. The images and stories convey a brutal honesty, bringing to light the horrific and dark memories that the survivors must carry with them. Taken together, Seliger’s collection of words and images forms a moving testimony to human dignity and a record of history that cannot, and must not, be forgotten.
This exhibition is generously underwritten by Kempner Capital Management, Inc.; The Wortham Foundation, Inc.; BP America; Bridgeway Foundation; Gainer, Donnelly & Desroches; The Harris and Eliza Kempner Fund; and Marathon Oil Corporation, with special thanks to Continental Airlines, official airline of Holocaust Museum Houston.