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Musée de Vire Normandie : Adolfo Kaminsky : Forger and Photographer


“After the war, all my friends had left and, to overcome loneliness, I threw myself body and soul into photography. Every night, I climbed onto the rooftops of Paris to capture the moment in the sleeping city. Thus were born my first artistic ambitions, and the laboratory of false papers, was transformed into a photography and chemistry laboratory, started functioning again. Little by little, I regained a taste for life…” – Excerpt from Adolfo Kaminsky. Une vie de faussaire, Sarah Kaminsky, Calmann-Levy, 2009.

Adolfo Kaminsky kept his photographic work secret for a long time. His activity as a counterfeiter in the service of opponents of dictatorships between 1943 and 1971 was incompatible with the exhibition of his work. Born in 1925 into a Jewish family originally from Russia, Adolfo dreamed of being a painter. During the Occupation, he lived with an uncle in Vire in Normandy. Apprentice dyer, he developed skills as a chemist that made him an expert in false papers during the Resistance in Paris.

After the war, Adolfo Kaminsky finally realized some of his artistic aspirations. The exhibition designed by the Museum of Art and History of Judaism in Paris is presented this year in the museum of Vire-Normandie, inaugurated in December after 4 years of transformation work.

The exhibition unveils 70 photographs whose poetry and irresistible framing evoke the humanist aesthetic of Willy Ronis and Robert Doisneau. We also think of the author’s years of clandestinity, the faces of the Elders he met in the camp of Drancy, in exile or his work produced for Alexandre Trauner’s film sets.

Adolfo Kaminsky : Faussaire et photographe
from April 6 and November 6, 2022
Musée de Vire Normandie
Sq. du Chanoine Jean Héroult
14500 Vire-Normandie, France


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