Lot’s Wife

Lot’s Wife is a project undertaken by Franki Raffles in Israel in 1992-94. Funded by a scholarship from the Wingate Trust, the images document the lives of Russian Jewish women who had emigrated to Israel following the disintegration of the Soviet Union, and make clear the harsh realities of their new situation.

Lot’s Wife was a highly personal project, informed by Franki’s own cultural identity. Her grandparents were Jews who, as a result of persecution, had emigrated to the UK from eastern Europe around the start of the 20th century. She had previously spent several summers in Israel as a teenager. The title for the project is based upon the poem by Anna Akhmatova, a Soviet dissident writer, who reflected on the Old Testament story of how Lot’s wife disobeyed God to turn for a last look at her home as they fled from the city of Sodom and, how, as punishment she had been turned into a pillar of salt. ¬†Accompanied by text, and carefully laid out, as can be seen in the draft layouts below, the images in Lot’s Wife were designed to be presented as both an exhibition and in book form.

In their eloquent depiction of women’s lives, their use of combined text and imagery and their political engagement, these images can be seen to bring together many of the key themes and practices explored throughout Franki Raffles’ career.

Sadly, this intimate, powerful and haunting work remained unfinished at the time of Franki’s sudden and tragic death at the age of 39, and has never been exhibited publicly.

 Additional Resources

Lot’s Wife Draft Layouts:

Lot’s Wife Franki Raffles’ Working Notes

‘Lot’s Wife’ poem by Anna Akhmatova