A very helpful tutorial led me to revisit the work of Ori Gersht, an Israeli photographer based in London producing beautiful images of places that have brutal pasts.

However, it was Floating World -reflections of Zen gardens in Japan – that captured my imagination and led me to research more about Gersht’s practice and how he and others describe his work.

Floating World, Ori Gersht, 2016

Floating World was exhibited in Japan and London in 2016 and depicts Gersht’s visits to Buddhist Zen temples in and around Kyoto which is itself resting precariously on a volcanic time-bomb.  Gersht was intending to reflect the essence of nature but also to reflect a place where time stands still, and the history and its past is palpable. As Ben Brown from Ben Brown Fine Arts in London explains:

“Tensions between past and present, beauty and violence, creation and destruction continue to inhabit Ori’s distinct visual language, expressed through a set of coded references and metaphors, and he continues to bring an innovative approach to the materiality of his medium.” (Brown 2016).

Gersht himself says:

“I am fascinated by the complex and intricate relationships that the Japanese have developed with their gardens and with the landscape . . . I was drawn to the cyclical relations of these gardens with the past, present and future, their flow of movement in contrast to its sudden photographic arrest.”  (Gersht in Brown 2016).

Professor David Chandler at the University of Plymouth describes Gersht’s work as:

“A meditation on the poetics of fragility, a reminder that all images are transitional.  They show us nothing more – for certain – than the absence of the object of representation.” 

In post-processing Gherst inverts the images and fuses them to create new spaces that hover between material and virtual realities. The resulting prints are fundamentally dependent on something that exists in the physical world, but because of the merging together of a tangible reality and its reflection, they are not literal depictions of it.

I was particularly taken by the series entitled Floating World Hanging Skye:

Floating World Hanging Sky – Ori Gersht, 2016

Floating World Hanging Skye – Ori Gersht, 2016

Floating World Hanging Sky – Ori Gersht, 2016

I find these images interesting not only because of their aesthetic value but also because the reflections present an image where the object of representation is absent.  This is something I have done in photographing only the reflections on Loch Cill Chriosd.  It provides an air of mystery and causes the viewer to question what it is they are actually looking at.  I find this works particularly well where I have used a slow shutter speed.  So the image is not only without a subject but also an abstraction of that.  See example below:

Slow Shutter Speed Reeds 23 – Alison Price, July 2019

This contextual research on Ori Gersht has helped me to consider more deeply what it is that inspires me about Loch Cill Chriosd.  To date I have taken movement, patterns and shapes that attract my attention in the moment.  Some have been literal, some very abstract but without consciously thinking about whether I am taking the reeds, the reeds and their reflection or just the reflection – I have tried all of these approaches.

I intend to do some work which is only about the reflections on the Loch.  I will find out how feasible this is.  I also need to give more thought as to whether sub-consciously I have inclined more recently to a focus on the reflections and why I have done this.

Finally, as part of my research I viewed an e-Exhibition Catalogue produced on “flipsnack” by Ben Brown Fine Art for the Floating World Exhibition in 2016.  It is an interesting and very professional format and platform which I need to research in the context of producing a book to accompany my Final Major Project.

 

References

https://www.wallpaper.com/art/israeli-photographer-ori-gersht-opens-floating-world-exhibition-in-london

Accessed 31 July 2019

Electronic Exhibition Catalogue – Foreword by Ben Brown

https://www.flipsnack.com/benbrownfinearts/ori-gersht-floating-world.html

Accessed 31 July 2019

Alison Price

Alison Price

My name is Alison Price and for the past ten years I have travelled the world photographing wildlife, including Alaska, Antarctica, Borneo, Botswana, the Canadian Arctic, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
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