Alana Newhouse ably deconstructs the shtetl mythology of the acclaimed photographer Roman Vishniac:

Vishniac released, over the course of a five-decade career, an uncommonly small selection of his work for public consumption -- so small, in fact, that it did not include many of his finest images, artistically speaking. Instead the chosen images were, in the main, those that advanced an impression of the shtetl as populated largely by poor, pious, embattled Jews -- an impression aided by cropping and fabulist captioning done by his own hand. Vishniac's curating job was so comprehensive that it would not only limit the appreciation of his talents but also skew the popular conception of pre-Holocaust Jewish life in Europe.

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