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Film Screening: Carvalho's Journey

Followed by a Talk-Back Session with Filmmaker, Steve Rivo, Featured Historian, Arlene Hirschfelder, Moderated by Sexton, Z. Edinger

Wednesday, May 17, 7:00PM

courtesy of the National Center for Jewish Film

courtesy of the National Center for Jewish Film

Screened in the 2016 NY Jewish Film Festival to critical acclaim, Carvalho’s Journey tells the amazing story of Solomon Nunes Carvalho (1815-1897), an observant Sephardic Jew of Portuguese descent. Born in Charleston, SC, Carvalho later moved to Philadelphia, as well as New York City (and is buried in our cemetery). The film chronicles his life as a groundbreaking adventurer, portrait painter, and photographer.

When famed explorer John Frémont set out through the Rocky Mountains to find a transcontinental railroad route, he recruited Carvalho to document the trek using daguerreotyping, a then-recent photographic innovation that captured images on a silver-coated plate. Carvalho, who never fancied himself an explorer, understood that despite his inexperience and the sacrifices such a journey would entail, the expedition would name him among the first photographers (certainly the first Jewish photographer) to document the sweeping vistas and breathtaking terrain of the American West.

Surviving grueling conditions and recurrent food shortages, Carvalho recorded the treacherous details of his 2,400-mile journey in his daily journal entries, excerpts of which he later included in his bestselling 1857 memoir, Incidents of Travel and Adventure in the Far West. Carvalho was a product of a singular period in American and Jewish history, when the young country was full of creativity, industry, and independent spirit, and its small community of Jews was figuring out how to fit into the larger culture while still maintaining its unique religious identity.

$5 members/$8 non-members. Click here to register.

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