Gilensphotos

Gilensphotos

A Philadelphia resident, Alvin Gilens' West Coast roots are evident in this conceptual photographer's strong sense of light and imagery. The drama of black and white is especially suited to his eloquent landscapes and intimate, moving portraits. Mr. Gilens many solo exhibitions include London's Imperial War Museum, the Urania Institute in Berlin, the University of Alabama, Villanova University, The Deutser Gallery in Houston, and Tel Aviv's Lavan Gallery.

He has the honor of being the only American photographer to have a one-person exhibition at Israel's Yad Vashem Museum, an exhibition that was on display for five months and then became part of the Yad Vashem permanent collection. Those same photographs were subsequently displayed at the United States Congress; the exhibition was opened with remarks by Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel.

A unique distinction was accorded Mr. Gilens in 1991, when the State Jewish Museum of Prague held a one-person show of his photographs, the first contemporary photographer to be exhibited in the museum.

In 1995 an exhibition of his interpretive photographs of the Mittlebau-Dora slave labor camp opened in Nordhausen, Germany on the 50th anniversary of the liberation of the camp. It was in the underground factory at Mittlebau-Dora that the V-2 rockets were manufactured by prisoners, working under the harshest conditions.

The exhibition is currently touring Europe, accompanied by a book by Mr. Gilens containing the photographs as well as personal observations and a history of the camp. A second edition of the photographs initiated its United States tour at the Karpeles Museum in Santa Barbara, California.

In 1998 Alvin Gilens was interviewed by radio journalist Katie Bausler for a feature NPR report on his photographic exhibition and book of Mittlebau-Dora. The interview and supporting background material about Dora and the development of the V-2 rocket under Wernher von Braun was aired on NPR's Morning Edition. The eight-minute program subsequently won the Edward R. Murrow award for "Best Feature Program by a Network" for 1998.

The photographer's works are in numerous private and public collections throughout the world including Villanova University, Haifa University, The Museum of the Diaspora in Tel Aviv, Yad Vashem Museum, Germany's Meyenburg Museum, and the Imperial War Museum in London.
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