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2013-08-21

A nude session in a cemetery may end in court

Yesterday, the District Police in Kielce initiated an investigation in relation to an erotic photo session in the Jewish cemetery.

In mid-July, the Kielce-born photographer Łukasz Sz. published photographs on a social community portal of the naked model Justyna J., sitting on graves in the Jewish cemetery in Chęciny. The photographs outraged an anonymous citizen of the Świętokrzyskie Province, who sent their copies to the editorial team of the Kirkuty – Jewish cemeteries in Poland Internet portal. Krzysztof Bielawski, the editor of the portal and the Virtual Shtetl project coordinator, immediately notified the Jewish Religious Community in Warsaw and the media.

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Virtual Shtetl has published news about defacing the Jewish burial site. Last Sunday, TVP Kielce aired a reportage about profaning graves. Last Monday, Echo Dnia daily and Gazeta Wyborcza Daily wrote about the wrongdoing by Łukasz Sz. A nude session in the cemetery was one of the topics on the Panorama TV programme. Ten-odd hours later, the offence made headlines in The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, Forward, Times of Israel and in other worldwide media. Ryan Lee Hall writes on Your Jewish News.com portal: “Jews from around the world express their shock after a photographer took pictures of nude women inside a Jewish cemetery in Poland.”

Photographs from the session in the cemetery have been published online from 25 July 2013. The photographer’s friends wrote comments, mainly regarding technical remarks and physical features of the model. The author took part in the discussion. Last Sunday, when the session was widely talked about in the media, Łukasz Sz. all of a sudden started to say that he wanted to draw attention to the condition of Jewish cemeteries in Poland. It is worth nothing that the cemetery he had chosen as a setting has been cleaned by Chęciny authorities on a regular basis for two years now.

Jewish circles in Poland condemned the  idea of the Kielce photographer. Andrzej Borys, the President of the Association of Polish Photographer Artists in the Świętokrzyszkie region, said that Łukasz Sz.’s photographs are poor. Marek Sobczyk, a graphic artist and art theorist, reckons the same.

The Jewish Religious Community in Warsaw will shortly decide whether to take any steps in the matter.

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