My Holocaust project began as a means to heal after the tragic and sudden death of my 28-year-old daughter, Miya. The project developed into a life’s mission for me. I owe my sanity to the camaraderie and deep connections that I made with the holocaust survivors that I photographed. Why survivors? I needed to relate to people who had experienced the magnitude of loss I felt. I needed to hear from people that, years later, their loss is not “lost.” I needed to have a purpose to get up everyday and do something worthwhile.
Documenting portraits of survivors to allow the world to remember years after their generation is gone is my contribution.
My first book, Living Witnesses: Faces of the Holocaust, had a profound impact on my community. I realized that I had discovered something that I could do to “make a difference.” I decided to continue my quest and I am embarking on an even more expansive project to include survivors in Europe, Canada, and the U.S.
We are looking to raise money for an exhibit, Triumph over Tragedy: Faces of the Holocaust, and a book, Living Witnesses 2. Created by portrait photographer Monni Must, the exhibit features someof the portraits, profiles, audio and video of her interviews and photo sessions with Holocaust survivors from around the world. These works will ultimately be included in a grand book called Living Witnesses 2, whose proceeds will help survivors in need and others seeking to rebuild after devastating tragedy. Both the exhibit and the book are being produced through our non-profit organization, A Dime and A Penny Foundation.
Four years ago, Monni Must’s eldest daughter, Miya Jo Must, died suddenly. Monni, whose role as a mother of four daughters has been the most important role in her life, was devastated. She had no idea how to go on after the inexplicable loss of her beloved daughter. At first, she couldn’t work; then she embarked on a self-funded project to interview and photograph Holocaust survivors in metro Detroit. Through long interviews, hearing their stories of devastation, of loss, of entrapment and eventual freedom, and learning how they built inspiring lives in the wake of such devastating tragedies, she began to breathe again. Those interviews and portraits came together in Monni’s first book, Living Witnesses.
She was so inspired by that project that she decided to expand it and record the brave and inspiring stories of survivors from around the world. As in the first book, the profiles will be written by another of Monni’s daughters, Sabrina Must. Furthermore, the second book will contain a curriculum so that it can be used in high school history and social studies classes forever after.
How the Money Will be Used
Your Kickstarter donation will be used to assemble what will become a traveling exhibit, and help to produce our new book, Living Witnesses 2. The exhibit opening takes place in West Bloomfield, Michigan on September 10, 2011 at the Janice Charach Epstein Gallery.
Funds will also be used to sponsor a survivor’s photo session and interview, develop the curriculum, and/or pay for design and production of the book. The final product will be a series of books, including more than 300 survivors.Â The books will be 10×10 hardcover, full-color with high-quality matte pages.
As we mentioned above, both projects will be produced by A Dime and A Penny Foundation, a 501(c) 3 organization. This means that your donations are tax-deductible. Every donor will be sent a thank-you letter which can be used as a receipt for tax purposes.
To donate, please visit this website.
Monni Must is an award-winning portrait photographer in metropolitan Detroit. Must graduated from Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara in 1978. While she devoted two decades to raising her children, Must honed her craft by cataloging the lives of her four daughters, their friends and their world through photographs.
In 2002, Must created Naturally Photography. The Sylvan Lake, Michigan business creates some of the most beautiful, artistic portraiture in the nation. Must’s work has won numerous awards, locally, nationally and internationally through the Professional Photographers of America and Detroit Professional Photographers of America.
For more information about Living Witnesses or Monni Must, please check out the following links:
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