by Heather Elder on Dec. 8, 2019
Andy Anderson was asked to photograph American Lawyer, Ben Ferencz, who was the chief prosecutor at one of the Nuremberg Trials. The project was for The Lonka Project, “The last survivors of the Holocaust still live among us. We, documentary, art, and portrait photographers around the world, can do one last thing for them and us. The Lonka Project is a voluntary photographic venture carried out by some 250 professional photographers, each creating a unique environmental portrait of a Holocaust survivor within the private space that now defines each survivor’s life.”
HE: What an honor it is to be able to take part in the Lonka Project and to meet with and photograph Ben Ferencz. Your photography always reflects your curiosity about a subject. Take us through the first moments when you met Ben.
AA: I have read several books on Nuremberg and watched the film “Prosecuting Evil,” which tells the story of his trials at Nuremberg. The shoot came up very last minute when I was contacted by Jim Hollander, who is curating this project, so there was not much to say because there was a tiny window of time on one day.
HE: Where did the shoot take place? Tell us about the atmosphere.
AA: The shoot took place in his home in Boca Raton, Florida. Ben is 99 years old, so I knew I had to be efficient. He also had a doctor’s appointment, so he only had an hour. When I arrived at his house, two nurses were tending to him and his wife – I immediately thought I should not photograph him because I thought he might be ill. Ben asked me to sit right down, and we immediately started an incredible conversation about life, the current state of politics and, his thoughts for the future of all of humanity. It was wonderful. Remember he is 99 years old but he acted like a 30-year-old – So bright and full of life.
HE: Intrigued by documentaries and more socially-minded projects, you have said you are obsessive with trying to capture certain scenes before it’s all gone. How fitting that the more than 250 photographers contributing to this project have been called Memory Keepers. Ben Ferencz is 99 years old. What do you want people to take away from seeing his images?
AA: BEN gave me hope for our future, and that life is grand if you do something with it.
Follow Andy on Instagram to see more imagery reflecting the truth, as he sees it.
Heather Elder graduated from Boston University and started her career at an advertising agency on the east coast where she worked as an account person at Leonard Monhan Lubars and Kelly. It was while working on the Polaroid account that she realized her interest in commercial photography. She left the ad agency to become an agent and producer for a Boston based photographer where she used her agency background to develop her own style. 20 something years later, from her offices in San Francisco and New York, she is still representing photographers and directors, producing and recording a podcast, writing a blog and hosting a website for freelance art producers. Mostly though she is always thinking ahead.