Photo of old Jew fetches hundreds of thousands of dollars - Cartoons of Mohammed? Zip

image of mohammed

Here is an image of the most important Muslim that no one in America will pay two cents for. But how much is a photo of an ordinary old Jew worth?

NY Post Online (article no longer available) has the answer:

"February 14, 2006 -- A Manhattan judge has dismissed an Orthodox Jewish man's lawsuit, finding that a photo taken of him on a street (1) and sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars is art — not commerce.

Emo Nussenzweig filed the suit on the grounds that his religion forbids photographs because they're graven images, according to his lawyer, Jay Goldberg. 'It puts him in a disgraceful light within his community,' Goldberg said.

'It violates the tenets of the particular religious sect to which he belongs. He shouldn't be put in a position where people might think he sold out for a few bucks.'

But Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Judith Gische ruled that the head shot showing Nussenzweig, with a white beard, a black hat and a black coat, is art — even though the photographer took it surreptitiously near Times Square in 2001 and then sold 10 prints of it at $20,000 to $30,000 each.

Philip-Lorca diCorcia's photographic show 'Heads' was at Chelsea's Pace Gallery in September and October 2001, featuring shots of 17 people photographed without their knowledge in New York, Tokyo, Calcutta and Mexico City.

The displayed photo of the 80-year-old Nussenzweig was about 3 feet by 4 feet.

New York's right-to-privacy laws prohibit the use of someone's likeness for commercial purposes without the person's permission.

But if the likeness is deemed to be art, the commerce restrictions do not apply. "

For a more detailed discussion from the legal point of view go

old hasidic jewNow this is not a picture of Mr. Nussenzweig but it is a graven image nonetheless. In this case the Jewish Community did not revolt and someone made a lot of money. To see how Muslims responded to images of Mohammed go here.

In the Mohammed Cartoon case, lives were lost, millions in property damage were sustained, and free copies spread like a Napster wildfire.

When I google images offensive to Jews I get 2,270,000 results; however, with images offensive to Muslims I get 4,330,000. Now with a world population of 1.5 billion that turns out to be less than 3 insults for every 1,000 Muslims.

The Jewish population is at best about 16 million (about 1 million less than in 1939 you bastard holocaust deniers). That turns out to be about 142 insults per 1,000 Jews.

Population-wise Jews get offended almost 50 times more than Muslims. Doesn't seem quite fair.

So Jews have been insulted for thousands of years, Muslims only since the Crusades. Welcome to the club, Farooq. Here's a hint on how to handle past insults and indignities to your culture and religion: make them into Holidays.

Jews took the period of Egyptian slavery and turned it into Passover. We don't burn Egyptian flags and yell "Death to the non-Jews!"

After Jews revolted against the Selucid Greeks we celebrate Chanukah [why can't we all spell it only one way?] commemorating the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem. We didn't wring our hands and whine about how many Jews were killed in the revolt.

The Jewish response to destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and other tragedies was to make a holiday from misfortunes basically saying, "They tried to kill us - we're still here - let's eat!"

For more see A Gentile's Guide to Jewish Holidays.

Certainly, if you weren't so busy trying to destroy us, Farooq, you could learn from us how to live with your fellow man in harmony.

[Update 20 Mar 2007: Nussenzweig appealed the district court decision to the New York Appellate Division which unanimously upheld the Supreme Court’s decision based on the statute of limitations, but refrained from making any other determinations]

[Update 15 Nov 2007: The New York State Court of Appeals decided that Nussenzweig's suit against di Corcia was barred by the statute of limitations as applicable to a right of privacy claim]



Susannz's Blog, Blog Assignment – Semester 2

Emo Nussenzweig, Head No.13, 2000, Phillip Lorca-diCorcia, Fujicolour Crystl Archive Print
Head No.13, 2000
Phillip Lorca-diCorcia
Fujicolour Crystl Archive Print
Phillip Lorca-diCorcia is an American photographer who has helped to redefine street photography. In his ‘Head’ Series he photographs strangers using a strobe light, turning “pedestrians into unsuspecting performers. The strobes picking out passers-by in a crowd the way a spotlight isolates actors on stage.” The photos were taken with a camera equipped with a 500mm lens on a tripod from over 20 feet away. He took 1000′s of photos, however only ended up with 17 photographs he wanted to display.

Interestingly, DiCorcia did not get the subjects permission to display their photographs and when in 2006 the man in the above work (Emo Nussenzweig), saw himself displayed in a gallery, he sued both the photographer and the gallery. This raises questions about the transgression of an individuals privacy, and whether the photos are art or their use when displayed or copies sold, constitutes commercialism. The case continues, however the American courts have ruled DiCorcia’s collection as art, not advertising or used for a commercial purpose. For me, this is a case worth following as my own work references his style and methodology.

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