Born in England, self-described nomad Rosie Kosinski ’13 spent her formative years in Jerusalem, Israel. While in France on a Dean Rusk grant in 2011, she took a side trip to Jerusalem to visit family.
“I am officially a tourist in Israel even though I lived there for over 17 non-consecutive years. Because it is a Jewish state, and I am not Jewish, I have always had to rely on visas.” During her stay, Kosinski embraced her tourist status. “I revisited with a fresh and open mind and took pictures of everything that would be fascinating and new to a Westerner—like the bread being sold in beautiful, exposed stacks, flies and hands alike freely touching the textured loaves, and the hordes of kids walking by, looking at me, the odd one out.
“The photo shows the beauty of the layers of Old Jerusalem, in the massive Disney backpacks carried by Palestinian schoolgirls, and the stacked bread—the bread of that man’s life—creating a wall behind which he is not Palestinian, he is not a merchant, he is not a victim or perpetrator of racism; he is just human. So I made him the focus. I kept his color because his was the expression of everything that keeps that place going—the humanness that transcends the political, religious and social angst.”