deserted Streets of Paris at night, portraits of artisans, rempailleurs, of second-hand dealers, of laughing children who have chosen the street as a playground of games, photos, industrial… Unknown, the photographic work of Adolfo Kaminsky has nothing to envy to the most renowned photographers humanists of the Twentieth century. Forger since the Second world War, the provider of false papers for thousands of the oppressed and risked death until 1971, the photographer can boast a nice return to the light. The Museum of art and history of judaism exposes, until the 8th of December, 70 pictures of the who worked to magnify the people of the shadow. These small people of a Paris lost, who exhibited their know-how to even the floor.

Thirty years of underground

Adolfo Kaminsky has discovered photography during the Second world War. He joined the resistance from its 17 years, the one that was called “the technician” has developed endless sources of ingenuity to honor the requests of uninterrupted false papers: “I had need for false papers to copy, adapt and photograph”. In this race against the watch, or photograph the documents and develop them into big plan then enables him to go faster. The self-taught will push its learning well beyond the needs of his activity. Adolfo Kaminsky, who, already as a child dreamed of becoming artist sees the possibility of the objective to magnify the daily. “These photographs I could not take the risk of showing them, for my safety and the safety of the people that I was saving, I had to exercise an absolute discretion”, said in his paris apartment the man alert 94-year-old.

After the war, alone, without a diploma, and wrapping the small jobs, it launches out to body lost in the photograph: “Each night, I would climb up on the rooftops of Paris to capture the moment in the sleepy town. Thus were born my first artistic ambitions and the laboratory of false papers, transformed into a photography laboratory, and chemistry, was delivered by road,” says the photographer in A life of forger , the book written by his daughter Sarah, in 2009. Thousands of shots, the witnesses of a Paris, now forgotten, were accompanied, made in cardboard, the man doomed to thirty years of clandestine existence and which enjoys, at the age of 94, the pleasure of no longer having to hide. Anthology reviewed by Sarah Kaminsky, who has largely helped to take the artistic work of his father’s shadow.

The bookseller, Paris, 1948

Adolfo Kaminsky has photographed a multitude of bearded men, in tribute to a man he met in Drancy in 1943. Adolfo Kaminsky

This bookseller, who poses next to her cats, is part of a series of photographs of bearded men made in tribute to a couple that my father met at Drancy. On his arrival in the camp, the couple is very stylish, the man has a very beautiful beard, his beautiful wife on his arm. He is fascinated by their allure. The next day, he reviews move head shaven and they appear to him any then all stunted: for him, they were already dead. These photos of the bearded are closely related to his memory. Every shot wants to make this man his dignity. The photo is a composition, my father never did any photo to the back. It is a photograph humanist with staging. Often, the characters look at it. The head of the man at the center of the photo, highlights look extremely hard.

Portrait, the rempailleur chair, Paris, 1954.

Adolfo Kaminsky is fascinated by the small trades. Adolfo Kaminsky

“My father has spent his life to be forgotten, bending the strict rules of an absolute discretion. These little people, like him, had not the right to light. These topics have taken with him. In addition, my father admire the dexterity and precision of the workers whom he feels close. It is coming, just like them, from a modest background.”

single Woman that is waiting, Paris, 1946

The Paris nightlife after the war. Adolfo Kaminsky

My father was fascinated by the atmosphere of the Paris nightlife after the war. During the war, there was a curfew and he was deprived of the nightlife of Paris, this feeling of freedom being able to walk around at night in the city. For him it represented a form of freedom. On the road with a friend, he photographed ” anything goes, happy to be able to capture this atmosphere. The walls are black, it is hard to recognize the city. It seems dirty, empty, very dimly lit. When it features a character in its setting, like here this woman alone, it evokes the loneliness inherent in the underground. My father has suffered a lot. At the end of the war, he is alone. Her mother died in circumstances that are weird when he was fifteen years old. When all his friends found their life before, he has nothing. His father lives in a tiny studio, there are more apartment and family-the family is dislocated.”

Adolfo Kaminsky, a forger and photographer, , Museum of art and history of judaism, until the 8th of December.


A life of forger book of Sarah Kaminsky, pocket Book, 7,20 euros.

Book of photos: Adolfo Kaminsky, change the collective, publishing one Hundred Thousand Billion, 30 euros.