Monday, April 20, 2009

Life Post: Memorial

This weekend, in my never-ending effort to take be an amazing photographer, I visited the Holocaust Memorial on Miami Beach. Now, now, don't jump to conclusions. Memorials don't sound exciting at all, but the Holocaust Memorial on Miami Beach is the MOST INTRIGUING memorial...hell it's the most intriguing ANYTHING I've ever seen. Judge for yourself.

Freedom Awaits's hard to drive past that....100 foot hand coming out of the ground. Oh but it gets better. It's hard to see in this picture, but all of that texture on the arm.....HUMAN BODIES. The most morbid sculpture I've ever seen......and I feel awkward for thinking so but it's also absolutely beautiful and stunning.

There's this beautiful blue pond around the hand. The water is so still it reflects the hand like a mirror. There's also a walkway that goes around the hand with a marble wall with people's names carved into (standard procedure for a memorial I feel like). But the experience is just breathtaking. There are flowering trees all around the pond. And the petals just fall right into the water and just float's like a scene straight out of a movie.

Path of Names

Anyway, from first glance it looks like the hand is sitting in the middle of the pond and there's no way for people to go up to the hand. As seen in the first picture...there's a huge wall around the hand as well. But as I'm walking around (through the walkway above) I realize there's a door that lets people go to the hand...up close and personal. And I knew there were bodies carved into the hand...but I was not prepared for the EXTENT of the bodies.

Send Me Salvation
This is the pathway that leads you to the hand. The cuts in the walls create a beautiful light and shadow pattern.

A Glimpse
Through the cuts you could catch little glimpses of the pond and walkway with all of the trees. Once again absolutely stunning (stunning is my new word) and ingenious. You feel kind of like a prisoner in this hallway where you only get a small view of the beauty that is outside the walls. Likely a reference to the way prisoners must have felt in the camps.

And on these walls there are the names of all the concentration camps (also standard procedure for a Holocaust memorial I believe). There are speakers built into the wall and there are children singing Jewish songs through the speakers....It was a little it unnerving....especially with that little statue in front of the arm. And I mean, I was here BY was a little bit uncomfortable.

a Lone girl
The mix of the song and this statue and being alone made it a little tough for me to take pictures.

So once I get over the emotional trauma of this hallway, I make my way to the hand. Oh dear God, when I say I was NOT PREPARED FOR IT...I WAS NOT PREPARED FOR IT.

The Base
The sculptur of this project has guts. And they are an absolute genius. I walked out to see the arm and I was terrified. I can only imagine that's the way you are supposed to feel. It took me a good 5 minutes to be able to walk around because I was so scared. I even had to call my mom. Not ONLY were the bodies on the arm, but also ON THE GROUND. ON MY EYE LEVEL. They are so real it feels like they will start moving around at any moment. It was seriously, TERRIFYING. And those children were STILL singing in the background.

Seriously, the designers of this memorial were absolutely ON POINT in everything. I'm pretty emotionally detached from...everything...but OMG.....this was too much for ME.

The Infant
At any rate, once I was able to calm down a little bit I could get closer to the sculpture and photograph it. But it was hard. The statues were literally life sized. It was an awful feeling.

The Arm
Here's the view up the arm. Absolutely STUNNING.

Anyway, I took lots of pictures. And I left a different person. Well not really, but the memorial is ACTUALLY one of my favorite buildings on this planet now. It's so simple, but so genius. And if you're ever in Miami then I would definitely visit it. But go on a sunny day because it is absolutely BREATH TAKING and STUNNING.

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