Photography by former UNDO collaborative fellow Daniel Terna published in The New York Times

The Case of the Missing Jewels

Daniel Terna’s “We Buy Gold!” Photo Series

Former UnionDocs collaborative fellow Daniel Terna recently had a project published on the New York Times website featuring a series of photographs he took in Manhattan’s diamond district during the Jewish High Holy Days, when the stores were closed and all the jewelry was missing from the storefront displays. He was drawn to the story he saw behind this, saying that the absence of all the bling that typically adorned these velvet or suede busts looked like all the stores had been “robbed by a very considerate thief.”

from Daniel Terna's "We Buy Gold!" series
from Daniel Terna’s “We Buy Gold!” series

“I saw the emptiness as more beautiful than when it was filled,” Terna said. “I’m more attracted to those forms and shapes.”

from Daniel Terna's "We Buy Gold!" series
Daniel Terna

Terna was also struck by a second narrative that he saw in this eerie population of sculptural busts.

“I couldn’t help but think of Kristallnacht,” he said, referring to the night when Nazis smashed the windows of Jewish stores and synagogues in Germany and Austria.

Daniel Terna
Order Daniel Terna

“Here were these Jewish businesses closed up when the rest of the city was still open,” he said. “They were willingly closing their doors, but there was still the idea of needing to hide your gold and gems.”


See the entire series here

And check out other work by Daniel Terna on his website: Pills