The Love Continues for Michael Jackson 7 Years Later

The Love Continues for Michael Jackson 7 Years Later

© hannah kozak

My MJ dolls

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Homemade card at Forest Lawn 23 June 2016

Every year since Michael Jackson left us, I enter Forest Lawn cemetery in Glendale, on June 25. This year I am overwhelmed and amazed by the 10,547 roses thoughtfully placed for Michael like a big beautiful blanket surrounding all the other gifts for him from individuals near and far. The roses are a coordinated effort by Robyn Starkand’s group: One Rose for Michael Jackson. Robyn then undertakes more thought and work by paying the roses forward to various charities such as St. Vincent’s Meals on Wheels sister Alice Marie, Ronald McDonald House, Veterans LA and the Jewish Home for the Aged.

© hannah kozak

The arrival of roses from One Rose for Michael Jackson – created and organized by Robyn Starkand.

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A fan helping set up the roses.

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Forest Lawn – 25 June 2016

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Hannah_Kozak_One_Rose_for_MJ_June_24__2016-5390

© hannah kozak

Robyn Starkand w/Sister Alice Marie of St. Vincent’s.

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More roses off to charity.

Rumi wrote that the wound is where the light enters you. Michael’s light continues to light the way for his soldiers of love, on the seventh anniversary of his departure from this earthly plane. The media tore Michael apart with abusive allegations when he became a record-breaking force. Michael’s death triggered a deep genetic pain in me. The search for the truth about Michael became my obsession. It ignited a sense of tragic injustice that I felt as a child from being Jewish and having had my entire family on my father’s side killed in the Holocaust. Michael’s death also stirred the hurt and injustice I felt from having watched my mother’s abuse.

© hannah kozak

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Samira Landau from France – This is her 4th trip to California to pay respects to Michael

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Tonia Kelly – Atlanta, Georgia – This is her 7th trip, she began coming for the trial in 2005.

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Beautiful, hand made card left at Forest Lawn on 23 June 2016

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Joly, May, Queenie, Jessica travel from Hong Kong every year to bring Michael a flower board made with love.

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From the fans in China.

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© hannah kozak

Musical flowers

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The Messenger of Love

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The seventh child was not concerned about the expectations of others. He was listening to the music of life. His ideas and creativity were boundless. His joy came from expressing his connection to his soul, and sharing his gifts with others. His dream was to allow the magic and the wonder that he saw, to reveal the harmony and love in all of creation. If people could feel their connection to the oneness of life, the world could once again be a place of freedom and joy. The seventh joy demonstrated this truth, through his life and his art. He danced, sang, and spoke of peace, love, oneness and caring for the land and one another. Thank u Michael. You know u saved me.

The terrorist’s attacks in Orlando, Florida less than two weeks ago hardened my heart briefly. But, I am reminded of Michael’s pleas for a better future for our world. He kept his heart open and soft, even in the face of harsh media lies and public scorn – ever reminding me the importance of keeping your heart open because holding hatred in one’s heart only damages our souls. The media continues to publish totally baseless smear stories in an attempt to defame Michael. As true followers who understand his never-ending love and innocence for children, we continue to stand firmly and defend him against the recycled accusations. Someday the lies about Michael won’t trend, only his legacy. I personally will keep working tirelessly to remind the world who he was; an innocent humanitarian.

© hannah kozak

Roses from China

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Left – Fumiyo from Tokyo, Japan.
Right – Biki Zennhoji from Osaka, Japan

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© hannah kozak

Joly – Hong Kong

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Miranda Yuen – Hong Kong

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May Cheng – Hong Kong

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Fanny – Hong Kong

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May Cheng – Hong Kong

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I love the artistry behind each and every card.

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Desde Chile – From Chile With Love

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Quote from Frank Cascio

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© hannah kozak

Quote from Diana Dawn DiAngelo

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How cute is this from Mickey Mail?

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

I was happy to see the fans from Japan who make the trip every year to deliver this hand made quilt. They work as a team with each person working on one piece, on weekends over the year. Today, they took a taxi from Hollywood to deliver it to Forest Lawn. They delivered a message to me from June, who usually comes. “Thank you and I love you.”

© hannah kozak

Quilt from Japan
Left to Right:
1. Yoko Abe
2. Aki Ko Kanazawa – “Michael’s smile gives me power.”
3. Yuki Otsuki
4. Tomoe Tokuda.

Here’s are closeups of inserts of the truly beautiful quilt.

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Asuka

 © hannah kozak

Chisato

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Ayako

 © hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Aki & Yukiko

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Chisato

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Yurika – I’m truly glad that I met you. To me, you are like the air. You are necessary for us. I love you.

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Dolls from Japan.

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10 year old Timothy discovered Michael when he was 5. He said “I dance, I sing and I love him”. When I asked him why he loved Michael he said “Because he was kind.”

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Another quilt from Japan.

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Quilt close up

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© hannah kozak

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© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Flowers from France

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“How could I lead my life so that every cell of living matter was also benefited?” – Michael Jackson

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

The ocean of cards, flowers, teddy bears and love from fans from around the world to honor him makes it clear that Michael is going to be remembered not for the lies that were told about him, but for the great artist and human being that he was. The media went to great lengths to hoodwink the general public, but the informed readers and fans know better. Michael Jackson asked hard questions of everyone, yet he didn’t preach. That is part of the reason why we loved him and continue to love him. He was a transcendent being, gentle as a butterfly, with boundless generosity. An example of a creative whose life was inspired by curiosity not fear. He saw the beauty in each and every leaf. Michael flew away too soon. We loved and continue to love him for his heart and his art.

I used to dream
I used to glance beyond the stars
Now I don’t know where we are
Although I know we’ve drifted far

The Love Continues for Michael Jackson 7 Years Later


Warsaw in Winter part two

Warsaw in Winter part two

Photography is a meditation for me. After spending time working on set surrounded by a crew of nearly one hundred people twelve hours a day, for months, I find that photography allows me quiet to recharge my soul. I cannot tidy up my father’s past: I am in Poland to continue my project on the eight forced labor camps he was in. But, before I begin my work, I allow myself to wander about Warsaw; one of my favorite cities in Europe.

© hannah kozak

Old Town in Warsaw, Poland
1/280 sec @ f 2.8, ISO 800 23.4mm

© hannah kozak

Fuji X-T1, 16mm,
1/280 sec @ f 2.8, ISO 800

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Fuji X-T1, 16 mm
1/125 sec @ f 2.8, ISO 800

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Fuji X-T1, 16mm
1/125 sec @ f 2.8, ISO 800

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Fuji X-T1, 16mm
1/450 sec @ f 2.8, ISO 800

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Fuji X-T1, 16mm
1/450 sec @ f 2.8, ISO 800

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Fuji X-T1, 17mm
1/600 sec @ f 2.8, ISO 800

Fuji X-T1, 35.3 mm 1/450 sec @ f 2.8, ISO 800

Fuji X-T1, 35.3 mm
1/450 sec @ f 2.8, ISO 800

The oldest part of Warsaw is Old Town; bounded by the bank of the Vistula river along with Grodzka, Mostowa, and Podwale Streets. I made these photos while wandering through the heart of the area which is Old Town Market Place. From the surrounding streets I saw medieval architecture while the area is full of restaurants, cafes and shops. And, wherever I travel, I plan on visiting UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites; and Warsaw is one of them. More than 85% of Old Town was deliberately destroyed by Nazi troops during the war. Warsaw is a near-total reconstruction of a span of history from the 13th to the 20th century. I love watching people while walking around.

@ hannah kozak

Fuji X-T1, 17.6 mm
1/250 sec @ f 2.8, ISO 6400

@ hannah kozak

Fuji X-T1, 24.2mm
1/15 sec @ f 6.4, ISO 400

The Holocaust committed by the Nazis turned this country, where most of the European Jews used to live and where their culture used to flourish, into a massive grave. This is why initiatives to revive Jewish culture in Poland is so important.

Marek Belka

Warsaw in Winter part two


Warsaw in Winter

Warsaw in Winter

Traveling to Poland for Christmas was a decision I made for a few distinct reasons. One, it was a postmortem readjustment to my father’s death. I had been to Poland before, both times in the spring, in May but I wanted to have the winter light in my photos on this trip. I wanted to feel the deathly cold winter of Poland, like my father did.

I went to Poland to continue my documentary on my father, a survivor of eight Nazi forced labor camps. Because my father passed away on Christmas, I wanted to awaken in his country, on the third anniversary of his death, to help me deal with a grief too deep for tears while simultaneously feeling a near-umbilical attachment to this country I love, a country with a past filled with too much sadness to ever understand.

© hannah kozak

I arrived on Christmas Eve. After a Polish man kindly helped me figure out how to buy a bus ticket from the ticket booth (I’m not a fan of cabs) I sat on my bus seat, staring out of the windows for a familiar site. When I exited at Warsaw University, I had the surprise of seeing purple and white holiday decorations– instead of the customary red and green in Los Angeles– leading into Old Town, where I like to stay. The location opening on Castle Square overlooked the Vistula River and granted a stunning view of Old Town. I heard the bell chimes of the Royal Castle, which was rebuilt only thirty years ago after being destroyed by the Nazis during WWII. In my small, quiet hotel room, I have a desk to write at as well as two bay windows to look out of where I photographed the view of the Vistula River and the changing light, throughout the day and night.

© hannah kozak

Krakowskie Przedmiescie & Plac Pilsudskiego, Warsaw

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View of Vistula River in Old Town
Fuji XT1 w/16-55mmF2.8 LM WR

© hannah kozak

Old Town – Warsaw, Poland
Fuji XT1 w/16-55mmF2.8 LM WR

I was in so much anguish on this third trip to Poland. My cat Jackson died suddenly three days after I arrived in Warsaw and I was alone in my hotel room. “No! No! No!” I screamed, in part because I was in shock and in part because I thought I could undue it all. I didn’t want to leave my hotel room yet I also needed the freezing cold air of Warsaw to help me breathe as I avoided making eye contact with strangers. I felt so useless to Jackson that all I could do was chant. I had left him at the vet and that was the last time I saw him. I was processing regret at leaving my companion with a specialist that I didn’t know but who said he would heal my little friend. My pain was profoundly humbling. The only thing I could come up with to self soothe was mantra so I played it nightly.

The state of grief continued as I traveled through Poland, seeing and experiencing Poland, in that emotional state. Something about the death of Jackson helped me get in touch with my father’s tremendous losses. Grief is grief and it colors everything.

© hannah kozak

Jackson – 3 days before he passed.

Jackson brought me infinite joy. I loved the sound of his paws hitting the hard wood floors in the morning as he and his brother ran to the kitchen, eager for breakfast. He used to plead with me to let him go outside and only liked being hugged on the futon in the television room. He’s gone but the memories of him will stay with me like a faded photograph.

@ hannah kozak

Michael & Jackson – 1 Nov 2011

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M & J – 17 Nov 2011

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M & J – 16 April 2012

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Michael and Jackson – 22 May 2012

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Jackson & Michael – 4 Jan 2013

I experienced grief and joy simultaneously at retracing my father’s footsteps through war torn Poland as I mourned the loss of my friend and didn’t sleep well for eight nights.

Prior to World War II, Warsaw was the leading center of secular Jewish culture in Eastern Europe. At one time, only New York had a larger Jewish population. I could imagine the diverse vitality of Jewish life here. From Warsaw’s turbulent history to the beauty of the rebuilt city, I was inspired. From the hot bowls of soup served with fresh baguettes to the sound of the language I don’t understand but resonate with, to the architecture of Gothic buildings made of brick and to cathedrals made of stone and Romanesque architecture and the kindness from strangers I am repeatedly impressed with, Poland has a piece of my tired and hurting heart.

On a side note, I was able to put the Fuji XT1 to use. This is a photographer’s camera and one of many cool features, it is weather resistant, which helped a lot in the cold of Poland. It’s responsive and I’m impressed with this mirrorless camera. There was no giant learning curve, it’s as intuitive as my Nikon FM from back in the 1980’s. No more lugging around DSLR’s.

© hannah kozak

Old Town, Warsaw
Fuji XT1 w/16-55mmF2.8 LM WR

© hannah kozak

Warsaw, Poland
Fuji XT1 w/16-55mmF2.8 LM WR

© hannah kozak

Warsaw, Poland
Fuji XT1 w/Fujinon XF16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR

© hannah kozak

Warsaw, Poland
Fuji XT1 w/XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR

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My favorite restaurant for soup and bread.
Fuji XT1 w/Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR

@ hannah kozak

Warsaw, Poland
Fuji XT1 w/Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR

 © hannah kozak

Warsaw, Poland
Fuji XT1 w/Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR

© hannah kozak

I love getting around Poland via buses & trains.
Fuji XT1 w/Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR

© hannah kozak

Warsaw, Poland
Fuji XT1 w/Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR

© hannah kozak

Dusk in Warsaw, Poland
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© hannah kozak

Directly outside Old Town in Warsaw, Poland
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 © hannah kozak

Fantastic walking guides in Warsaw, Poland.
Fuji XT1 w/Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR

© hannah kozak

Children in Old Town; Warsaw, Poland
Fuji XT1 w/Fujinon 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR

© hannah kozak

Warsaw, Poland
Fuji XT1 w/Fujinon XF 16-55 mm F 2.8 R LM WR

© hannah kozak

Warsaw, Poland
Fuji XT1 w/Fujinon XF16-55 mm
F2.8 R LM WR

© hannah kozak

Self Portrait en route to Museum of the History of Polish Jews – Warsaw, Poland
Fuji XT1 w/Fujinon XF 16-55 mm F2.8 R LM WR

© hannah kozak

Old Town – Warsaw, Poland
Fuji XT1 w/Fujinon XF 16-55 mm F2.8 R LM WR

© hannah kozak

Warsaw, Poland.
Fuji XT1 w/Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR

@ hannah kozak

Self Portrait at my favorite place to stay in Warsaw: Dom Literatury.
Fuji XT 1 w/Fujinon XF 16-55 mm F2.8 R LM WR

© hannah kozak

Old City – Warsaw, Poland
Fuji XT1 w/Fujinon XF 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR

It has been said that Poland is dead, exhausted, enslaved, but here is the proof of her life and triumph.
Henryk Sienkiewicz

Warsaw in Winter


Why I’m Lighting Yahrzeit Candles on Christmas – My Father’s Hands & Feet

Fine Art Photographer shares intimate moments from death

W. Eugene Smith said photographs can summon enough emotion to be a catalyst to thought. A writer writes about someone’s struggles as an act of compassion and caring.  Giving shape to something painful helps us to process our grief by sharing it. Sharing words and photos decreases the burden we are carrying. By sharing my feelings and photos, perhaps I reach another person who is or has carried the burden of grief. Just as I take refuge in travel, I find healing in sharing. Author Dorothy Allison said if you don’t break out in a sweat of fear of what you write, you have not gone far enough. This one made me sweat.

My father began to leave his physical body after only two nights in the hospital. His last request was a black bean burrito, no guacamole, from Poquito Mas. I brought it to him for lunch, not knowing that it would be his last meal. Watching my father die in a sterile hospital seemed like a privilege compared to how his entire family was killed at Auschwitz and Treblinka by gassing.I felt blessed I could have the opportunity to mourn my father in a way he never could mourn his family in Poland, because he never saw any of their bodies after they were killed.

I was witness to the process of his body shutting down. At any given moment, either one or more of my brothers was in the room or my sister or niece, nephew, and the endless stream of nurses with machines to keep checking him so billing could continue even after he was heading through the astral plane. My sister refused to leave because he asked her not to leave him alone. She slept in the bed next to his. I would go home to sleep and no matter when I returned, she was in the room.   As my sister held his hand, I was pained by the thinness of his skin. I kept caressing the paper-thin skin on his arm, as if my rubbing could keep his arm from bleeding more. I had one-way conversations with my father. I kept telling him it was okay for him to go to G-d. I knew he could hear me.

As I always did in life, I continued to make photos as his death was imminent. The process was exhausting and while some may view the photos as callous, for myself it was more that I wanted one last look at my father, the man who taught me to stand on my own two feet. From a higher perspective than judgment, these photos are about love.  I was attempting, in my humble way, to make sense of his departure from my world and his. By documenting my father’s death, I was reaching out for one last moment of immortality, trying to make sense of his journey back home to G-d.

© hannah kozak

I saw my father reach for someone that was not part of this world. In that moment, with that reach, my father showed me there is more than just this life. Photography is death of a moment.Death is the eidos of the photograph. According to Roland Barthes in Camera Lucida, the book he wrote in 1979 hailed as the “subtle, most original, most sympathetic literary intelligence of the age” a photograph is a return of the dead.Death is the great equalizer.  We turn into energy and disappear. My father gave me a great gift before he left his physical body. I was on his left side, my sister was on his right. He reached out past me, towards the ceiling, the heavens. “Grab his hand, Hannah” my sister said. “He’s reaching for you.” “No I said” immediately and without hesitation. “He’s not reaching for me.”

My oldest brother and my sister were in the room with my father and I at the end. His hands and feet grew swollen as his skin both softened and wrinkled. On Christmas Eve, I watched his inhale become short and labored until there was barely an inhale left and mainly his exhale. Then, on Christmas morning, the final inhale that lasted too long, a labored gurgled exhale, which made my sister jump, and his soul left the space. Silence. The machine helping him breathe was still inhaling and exhaling for him. He was not. “What do we do” my brother asked to anyone who might have an answer. I said “Don’t call the nurses yet. I need a moment alone with him.”

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak


It was an honor to be with him until the end. I experienced a surreal and grounding experience. Hospice nurse, Maggie Callanan has witnessed more than two thousand deaths and says “dying people have the uncanny ability to choose the moment of death, and it’s not uncommon for them to spare those they love the most or feel protective of by waiting until those people leave the room.”  I’ve heard so many stories of people waiting until their loved ones left the room before they die. Not my father, he really never liked being alone. Leaning into my father, I smelled decay. I gently removed his blue and white socks off his swollen feet and tucked them into my purse, where I found them ten days later, rolled up in a ball.  I feel sad, numb, but also relief that he isn’t suffering any more.
I made some photos of his hands as he was in the hospital, as well as over the years. I loved my father’s hands and feet.
© hannah kozak 24 April 2010

©hannah kozak

25 April 2010

25 April 2010

27 April 2012

© hannah kozak

19 May 2012

27 June 2012

27 June 2012

27 June 2012

27 June 2012

26 June 2012

26 June 2012

25 Sept 2012

25 Sept 2012

I often wondered about his hands. Those strong hands dug potatoes with two friends from the barracks in the hard, dirt ground, in the dark, as he was a prisoner who worked in eight Nazi camps. The next night he decided not to go out  when his friends started to leave. Not only were his friends caught but their punishment for stealing potatoes was death.  He told me about taking his hand and wiping the back of his neck, seeing it filled with crawling vermin from the filthy conditions in the forced labor camps he lived in.

His feet, I wondered about the towns he walked in Poland alone, after a year in the hospital, looking for his family after he was liberated from Dernau on May 8, 1945.  I can’t imagine what it felt like to know there wasn’t one family member or friend on the face of the earth who knew who he was. No one who remembered one of his birthdays, no one to recall a favorite story with, no one to share a “remember when we ditched school” laugh.

My photographs are the voice that continues after my father’s death. In some way, my photos keep him alive. They remind me of the strong wings he had to develop because he had to learn to fly solo. I feel honored my father choose me to walk with him to the end of his road on the earth plane and I found beauty in the midst of my grief. The shroud of death followed my father throughout his life but his strength and tenacity created rebirth and resurrection. There was no closure from the losses of his entire family during the war but his hope kept him moving forward until it was time for him to go back home, one more time. His death, a learning process and experience he left behind, for those who will follow someday.

©hannah kozak

(The opening lines of James Fenton’s A German Requiem)

A German Requiem – James Fenton

It is not what they built.

It is what they knocked down.

It is not the houses. It is the spaces in between the houses.

It is not the streets that exist. It is the streets that no longer exist.

It is not your memories which haunt you.

It is not what you have written down.

It is what you have forgotten, what you must forget.

What you must go on forgetting all your life.

And with any luck oblivion should discover a ritual.

You will find out that you are not alone in the enterprise.

Yesterday the very furniture seemed to reproach you.

Today you take your place in the Widow’s Shuttle.

“There are too many of us and we are all too far apart.” ― Kurt Vonnegut

Fine Art Photographer shares intimate moments from death


My Mother’s Dolls part 2

My Mother’s Dolls part 2

This is Part Two of the series, My Mother’s Dolls. These photos are a continuation of the series: He Threw the Last Punch Too Hard, which began in December 2009. My mother is in a wheelchair, brain damaged from her second husband’s abuse. She cannot pick up the phone when she is feeling lonely to hear a familiar voice. Or take a walk in the neighborhood, listening to birds singing. Reading a book isn’t an option. She can’t reach out for a dog or cat to pet. Yet she manages to smile at the littlest things, like her dolls. Small reassuring beings, friends in quiet moments.

I have been a participant observer, documenting my mother’s nearly adult lifetime confinement to a nursing home after a brutal beating by her second husband.

I will continue to focus on the comfort objects that help my mother get through her day. These nurturing dolls are my mother’s friends, day and night.

Hannah_Kozak_My_Mother's_Dolls-1109

© hannah kozak

@ hannah kozak

Guatemalan doll

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

In emergency room

© hannah kozak

Dora and Hello Kitty

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Dinner time

© hannah kozak

 © hannah kozak

My mother was having lunch. I walked into her room and saw her freshly made bed.

My Mother’s Dolls part 2


Auschwitz – Remembering and Not Forgetting

Auschwitz – Remembering and Not Forgetting

@ hannah kozak

“Work Sets You Free”
Entrance to Auschwitz

I made my first sojourn to Auschwitz in 2013 and I have been haunted by the images I saw ever since. Yet I have also found Auschwitz to be a place of contemplation – an invitation to meditation. Photography has always kept me from forgetting, so camera in hand, I return to this place of killing of innocent souls hoping to honor the nameless and faceless. I can’t help but wonder if evil can’t be overcome by looking it square in the face.

Visiting Auschwitz required me to not forget the significance of its’ past, while simultaneously being forced to remember it. I read many books about the Holocaust throughout my entire life -beginning with Escape from Warsaw when I was in grade school and throughout my teens. I continued to devour similar culturally and historically relevant books when I started a project on my father’s journey from his hometown of Bedzin, Poland to many forced labor camps in Markstädt, Klettendorf, Hundsfeld , Hirschberg, Bad Warmbrunn and Ermannsdorf. He was sent to Hirschberg twice before he was liberated from Dernau on May 8, 1945. Even with such emotional proximity to this history, I still wasn’t prepared for seeing tools designed to kill people in person. Fences, barbed wire, barracks, crematorium. The controversial historian Ernst Nolte refers to the Holocaust as “a past that will not pass away.” Indeed, I have always felt the more I study the Holocaust, the less I understand about humanity.

I felt an existential delirium being in Auschwitz. Standing in line with people for the tour felt too confining, so as I have always done, I got out of line and went off on my own. Getting out of line is what saved my father’s life at the very end of his stay in those forced labor camps. He was told to get in line with all the other remaining inmates at Dernau. My father’s angels, (as he called them) or his intuition ( how I refer to his knowing), was always marvelous whether it came to people or situations. So when it told him to get out of line, he did and went immediately into the barracks. Had he not listened to that subconscious nudge, he would have ended upon a death walk with everyone else in that line. They were forced to dig their own graves before they were machine gunned down. Because my father broke the rules and got out of line, he was liberated by the Soviet armed forces one day later.

@ hannah kozak

Auschwitz by hannah kozak

@ hannah kozak

Auschwitz by hannah kozak

@ hannah kozak

Auschwitz by hannah kozak

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Auschwitz 24 block by hannah kozak

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Auschwitz by hannah kozak

In some places, the pulse beats more than others. Poland is one of those places for me. I’ve heard people say that they could never visit Auschwitz but perhaps if they had a father that survived eight forced labor camps they would feel differently. I can’t imagine not wanting to see the labor, concentration and killing centers ** in person. Duality; making others wrong, is always judgment. I needed to see this place to help me keep remembering.

@ hannah kozak

Auschwitz block 15 by hannah kozak

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Auschwitz museum

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Auschwitz museum

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Auschwitz museum

@ hannah kozak

Auschwitz museum

The Talmud describes the difference between remembering and not forgetting. Forgetting first occurs in the heart. It’s not cognitive. It’s the natural course of events that dispossess us from the event and then tragically, we are left devoid of the reason it was ever important to us to begin with. Remembering, on the other hand, is to engage in activities that promote remembrance.

@ hannah kozak

Auschwitz museum

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Auschwitz museum

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Auschwitz museum by hannah kozak

@ hannah kozak

Auschwitz museum by hannah kozak

@ hannah kozak

Auschwitz museum by hannah kozak

My father found a way to make something out of nothing, so that he could survive. He created life out of a world of darkness. As a second generation Holocaust survivor, I feel it is my duty to not forget and to present the upside of my heavy heritage so it can be a catalyst, and not a yoke.

@ hannah kozak

Auschwitz museum by hannah kozak

@ hannah kozak

Auschwitz

@ hannah kozak

Auschwitz

@ hannah kozak

Auschwitz

@ hannah kozak

Auschwitz

@ hannah kozak

Auschwitz Krematorium

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Auschwitz Krematorium

@ hannah kozak

Auschwitz

@ hannah kozak

Trees – Auschwitz

I kept mostly to myself in school almost as if I was still hiding. One side of me was a happy girl that loved to laugh; the other side was a girl with sadness so overwhelming, I could never understand where it stemmed from. As a second generation Holocaust survivor, I understand that my father’s unprocessed grief and sadness was handed down, and it’s up to me, to transform that sadness into understanding the carefully orchestrated plan of genocide because the Jews believe, “He who saves one life, saves the entire world. ” I think it’s dangerous that the suffering and struggle of my ancestors will be forgotten with the passage of time. I must tell and retell the stories of our past, so that we will remain free, in the future.

** death camp is too vague, since taken literally it evokes the image of a place in which a large number of people died, such as the footage of dead bodies taken in Dachau and Buchenwald, which misleadingly, are often shown as backdrop in documentaries on the Holocaust. “Death camp” could in theory apply to most concentration camps, many labor camps, and, in the winter of 1941/1942, virtually all camps for Soviet POWs. We prefer killing center because it denotes exactly and explicitly what the facility was established to achieve–to kill human beings as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

Auschwitz: Remembering and Not Forgetting


Celebrating Love on Michael Jackson’s Birthday

Celebrating Love on Michael Jackson’s Birthday

Michael Jackson would have been fifty-seven years old today. The now familiar black wrought iron gates signal the entrance to Forest Lawn Glendale. As I wind up the entrance I see Aleppo pines, a single rose here and there, flower arrangements, pinwheels of red, orange and blue spinning softly in the wind as the birds sing their songs.

@ hannah kozak

Holly Terrace

Amidst the roses, handmade cards, balloons, and stuffed animals is the feeling of love that Michael Jackson spread around the world with his music and his heart.

© hannah kozak

With love from Russia

Eleanor Roosevelt said “to do what you feel in your heart for you’ll be criticized anyway.” Michael embodied this throughout his life. Watching television as a young boy with his mother, he was moved to tears when he saw images of starving children in Africa. “Mother”, he vowed, “I’m going to do something about this someday.” And, true to his word, he did.

My hope is these photos show how Michael was loved and even though he was subjected to immense injustice, the fans know the truth even though the media was trying to tarnish his reputation throughout his career.

@ hannah kozak

@ hannah kozak

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© hannah kozak

@ hannah kozak

Marjorie from Scotland

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Alice in Hong Kong

I love the simplicity of this tiny bear with the note “Happy birthday to you in heavens.”

@ hannah kozak

Little bear from Iraa and Jude

Divina Baham organized “The Messenger of Love” Foundation back in 2011. They celebrate Michael’s birthday, his passing and bring bags of love out reach visiting homeless shelters, Shriner’s Hospital for Children and dedicated a tree to Michael at Lake Balboa. This year they brought a cake to Forest Lawn in honor of Michael.

Cake for Michael Jackson - 29 August 2015

Cake for Michael Jackson – 29 August 2015

Hitomi came from Japan for only 3 days. I was told by Hitomi’s friend that many Japanese visitors stay for such a short amount of days because they have to get back to work.

© hannah kozak

Hitomi – from Japan

Rieko from Japan on the other hand, came for 3 weeks to study English at a small school for her university back home. “My main purpose is Michael Jackson’s birthday” she told me. It was her first time in LA and in her own words, “a dream come true”. I thought it was so cute how she carried her MJ doll in the tiny bag with “I am King of Pop” on it.

© hannah kozak

Rieko – from Japan

I met Gloria Lopez. She told me she was 13 years old when her grandfather died. He was her father figure and her best friend, who took care of her since she was 3 months old. After he died, she became depressed and suicidal, as it was her first experience of death. She didn’t want to go to school, was getting “F” grades and was sent to a psychiatrist. She said “I heard “You Rock My World” in 2001 and it was the first time I smiled since my grandfather died. I started devoting myself to MJ research. I became an honor student and received a Masters In Art Education doing my thesis on Michael.” She told me she teaches art to children because of Michael’s influence on her.

@ hannah kozak

Gloria Lopez

I met Marguerite, who flew all the way from France. Her first time to the states was in 2012 for the Immortal World Tour. She saw the Immortal World Tour 2 times in France that same year. She returned to Forest Lawn in August, 2014 and saw the One show two times that year. This year she told me that she came to Los Angeles for Michael’s spiritual message.

© hannah kozak

Marguerite – France

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

I love you More – Maleah

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Nina from Poland

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Yumiko from Japan

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Yumiko from Japan

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Roswitha Preib – Germany

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Clotide – France

@ hannah kozak

@ hannah kozak

Rieko – L and Kaori – R
from Japan

Michael’s commitment to his art, no matter what was happening in his life, is a testament to the artist he was; always bearing his soul in his music. His ability to connect with his fans all around the globe is evident even six years after he has left his physical body. Even in the fierce California heat, people come from France, from Japan, from all around the world, to pay their respects to the Man in the Mirror, who built an army of love.

© hannah kozak

Roses from France

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Flowers from Russia

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I love this card!

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Art work by Haruyo Sakuta

© hannah kozak

Backside of Michael on Eagle’s Back

 © hannah kozak

Yae Kojima – Japan

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Yuka – Japan

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Yuka Takahashi – Japan

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Maleah, Lorrie, Marilyn

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Hong Kong

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

May Cheng – Hong Kong

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© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Captain Eo card – Japan

@ hannah kozak

2 Michael Bad dolls meet at Forest Lawn

 © hannah kozak

More gifts for Michael

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

Russian fans

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© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

© hannah kozak

From Japan

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Japanese dolls

One of Michael’s greatest gifts was how he cared for humanity and spread love. His Army of Love is still going strong, carrying the message that Michael was sharing with us his entire life: Love one another, take care of each other and continue to give, share and breathe love every step of our journey here. Michael was a spiritual messenger who walked his walk. He held up a mirror to humanity and in the end, Michael’s message continues to light the way.

Celebrating Love on Michael Jackson’s Birthday


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