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Viewer Discretion Is Advised: Some of the MOST Emotional Photos I have ever taken, from Auschwitz

Before we made the trip to Germany for Photokina we made a stop in Poland. The trip to Poland for me was experience the Ghettoes of Warsaw and visit Auschwitz. These are not happy places to go but they are places I felt I must experience.  I must take the good with bad and attempt to feel as much as I could possibly feel when visiting these places.

I did take the Nikon D810 with me knowing I wanted to capture a few images. I wanted to tell a story as I tend to do but I wasn’t sure what I would find or how I would feel about what I am capturing.

There are a few images that I thought told a story. The look down the tracks to the main gate, the close up of the train stair and the train itself.

The train is haunting, I found myself staring at it and I started to get emotional. I started to feel the walls closing in on me and I started to tear up. My mind shifted to the people inside. The pain and suffering they must have been facing on their trip to the unknown.

Auschwitz Birkenau Cattle Car

Look at that image, stare at it, don’t take your eyes off of it until you feel something.

Feeling, it is all about feeling. It’s all about emotion. It’s all about that moment. That moment that presented itself in front of your lens and you captured it it. That moment that you put yourself in the right situation to capture. That moment where all the pieces of the puzzle came together for that one solitary split second of a shutter push.

Auschwitz Birkenau Tracks

Images with emotion and feeling do not happen often. In fact, I would say that they are captured less and less these days as more and more “snap shots” are being taken.

That’s what makes it so gratifying when you find yourself looking at the images you captured and you spot “the one”. That one image or the couple of images that tell the story. That capture the emotion like your other images have not.

I just had that feeling recently. There are a few powerful images that I captured in Poland while in Aushwitz. One of the images made me tear up, it made my mind go to a place that is so dark in our history that it’s very hard to even get to that place.

Auschwitz Birkenau Train

But for a few moments the haunting nature of the image struck me, it showed me the inside of this dark place that I can’t even imagine being in.

There have only been a handful of images I have taken that bring out that emotion for me. The strange thing is the images I can see in my mind that have done this to me are very painful, very personal.

Auschwitz Birkenau Stairway to the Gas Chamber

We must feel, we must capture, we must create. I have felt that feeling and hope to feel it many more times as I continue on my path as a photographer.

I can’t tell you how to get that feeling but I can tell you, you will know when you did.

Auschwitz Birkenau Gate