Nowinski, Ira

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Ira Nowinski (b. 1942) is an American photographer of Polish and Hungarian Jewish descent. He was born in New York City and raised in New Rochelle, New York. In 1973 he earned a Master of Fine Art’s degree from the San Francisco Art Institute. Shortly after, in 1978 he became the official photographer of the San Francisco Opera. He also documented Jewish life in the San Francisco Bay Area in three photographic projects: In Fitting Memory: The Art and Politics of Holocaust Memorials ; Karaite Jews in Egypt, Israel, and the San Francisco Bay Area ; and Soviet Jews in San Francisco . From 2002 to 2003, he photographed the wildlife of the Galapagos Islands as well as the impact humans have had on the ecosystem. The Standford University Libraries Department of Special Collections exhibited some of his work of Holocaust memorials and sites in 2004.

The Glyndebourne Festival was established by John Christie and his wife Audrey Mildmay in 1934. Initially the theatre held 300 seats and the works performed were almost exclusively those of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. The repertoire was eventually expanded to include works by Benjamin Britten, Giuseppe Verdi, and Gioachino Rossini among others. Popularity of the Festival lead to the expansion of the threatre, first in the 1970s and then again in 1994 when a new opera house was built to house 1,200 seats.

From the guide to the Collection of Ira Nowinski Photographs of Glyndebourne Festival Opera Season 1986/87, 1986-1987, (V&A Department of Theatre and Performance)

Biography

Ira Nowinski is an American photographer of Polish and Hungarian Jewish descent. Born ca. 1942 and raised in New York, he was the first person in his family born in the United States. At the age of 42, he was prodded by opera singer Regina Resnick to do a photo essay around the Jewish milieu. He had previously done photo essays of the North Beach, San Francisco, area, of the evacuation of elderly citizens from hotels in the South of Market area of San Francisco, and of the Southeast Asian Community in the same city. In addition, he had been the staff photographer of the San Francisco Opera since 1978.

Working first with Resnick and then with Seymour Fromer of the Judah L. Magnes Museum, Rhonda Abrams of the Anti-Defamation League, Anita Friedman of Jewish Family & Children's Services, and the Northern California Board of Rabbis, Nowinski began documenting the Jewish experience in the San Francisco Bay Area. One of his first projects was to document Soviet Jews who had immigrated during the 1970's and 1980's.

He also photographed the Karaite Jewish Community in Foster City. The Karaites were a Jewish community that had lived for nearly 500 years in Egypt. The Arab-Israeli war resulted in the expulsion of the Jews from Egypt at the conclusion of that conflict. Many subsequently immigrated first to Israel and then to Northern California. Nowinski retraced their migration route in reverse, first photographing Karaites in Foster City, California, then in Israel, and finally in Egypt.

Nowinski and Sybil Milton of the U.S. Holocaust Museum did a joint work on the Holocaust Memorials throughout Europe, Israel, and in the United States. This work, entitled "In fitting memory : the art and politics of Holocaust memorials" combined text provided by Milton with Nowinski's photographic essay of the monuments documenting the millions of Jews who lost their lives under the Nazi regime.

From the guide to the Ira Nowinski collection, ca. 1965-2000, (Stanford University. Libraries. Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives.)

Biographical/Historical note

Ira Nowinski is an American photographer of Polish and Hungarian Jewish descent. Born ca. 1942 and raised in New York, he was the first person in his family born in the United States. At the age of 42, he was prodded by opera singer Regina Resnick to do a photo essay around the Jewish milieu. He had previously done photo essays of the North Beach, San Francisco, area, of the evacuation of elderly citizens from hotels in the South of Market area of San Francisco, and of the Southeast Asian Community in the same city. In addition, he had been the staff photographer of the San Francisco Opera since 1978.

Biographical/Historical note

The Stanford Powwow is held every Mother’s Day Weekend in the Eucalyptus Grove on Stanford campus.

From the guide to the Ira Nowinski photographs of the Stanford Powwow, 2006, (Dept. of Special Collections & University Archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Collection of Ira Nowinski Photographs of Glyndebourne Festival Opera Season 1986/87, 1986-1987 V & A Department of Theatre and Performance
creatorOf Ira Nowinski collection, ca. 1965-2000 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf Ira Nowinski photographs of the Stanford Powwow, 2006 Cecil H. Green Library. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Christie, George. Sir person
associatedWith Eilinkring Family family
associatedWith Glyndebourne Festival Opera corporateBody
associatedWith Hall, Peter. Sir, 1930- person
associatedWith Jewish Community Center, San Francisco (Calif.) corporateBody
associatedWith Jewish Vocational Services Emigre Project, San Francisco (Calif.) corporateBody
associatedWith Lemkin, Misha person
associatedWith Menorah Park Senior Housing corporateBody
associatedWith Rattle, Simon. Sir, 1955- person
associatedWith Segal, George, 1924- person
associatedWith Sendak, Maurice., 1928-2012 person
associatedWith United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Warsaw (Poland)
Subject
Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945) in art
Native Americans--Photographs
Opera--England--East Sussex
Occupation
Jewish photographers
Activity

Person

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