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Jewish Journal

Shoot to Thrill

by Michael Aushenker

June 20, 2002 | 8:00 pm

He's been all over Europe and has toured extensively throughout the U.S.A. Yet if globetrotting has taught photographer Jack Laxer anything, it's that "one doesn't have to go thousands of miles to find interesting things. You can find them in your backyard."

On June 30, Laxer will share his tricks-of-the-trade at a Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce-hosted lecture designed to turn a tourist's snapshot into a conversation piece.

Born in Coney Island to parents of Romanian descent -- his father was a furrier; his mother a homemaker -- Laxer moved from New York to Los Angeles at the age of 23 to be near his mother.

"My Jewish upbringing gives me a certain sensitivity," said Laxer. "In my family and cluster of friends, there was a certain sensitivity to art that wasn't handed on to me in a tutorial way, but I learned it by way of example." The artist, who attends high holiday services at Adat Shalom in Westwood, says that he gleaned from his parents "the difference between seeing and observing."

His work challenges the architectural client's imagination with dazzling presentations. He has designed photo presentations for Edward Durrell Stone (Ahmanson Center, Miracle Mile)and William Pereira (LACMA), in addition to capturing on film everything from the giant face at Crystal World in Watten, Austria, to a Zermatt Cemetery memorial in Switzerland dedicated to 16 "mountain masters" who perished while scaling the Matterhorn.

Laxer some day hopes to visit his parents' homeland and track down the "roita brick" (red bridge) in Bucharest that they used to talk about in Yiddish.

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