Playing around, searching for Israeli art that I’d enjoy, I discovered the terrific work of Leora Laor. From her online bio:
Leora Laor was born in Israel. She graduated in Film, Television and History at Tel-Aviv University (B.F.A.) 1973-1977. Laor worked as a freelance photographer as well as in production and still photography in television and in films. From 1979-1987 Laor lived, studied and worked in the United States. There she studied photography in The School of Visual Arts (1979-1981)… She was one of the group of staff photographers of the Oggi Domani Gallery, the only photography gallery in East Village… Her work is to be found in many private collections, as well as public collections, such as Metropolitan Museum of Art N.Y… Since 2002 she has made a comeback into fine art photography. Laor is once more motivated by a sense of pictorial wonder and urban alienation which come out through her special vision and unique technique.
I find that some of her work points me to Israel and generally familiar feelings about the people who live there. The image above comes from her collection WANDERLAND / 2001-3, the middle image from IMAGE OF LIGHT / 2004 and the image at bottom comes from RECENT WORKS / 2005-6.
Image of Light #53
What attracts me to the work is Laor’s ability to capture special moments and infuse them with an emotion. She captures a mood of loneliness, maybe sadness, and a sense of quiet in her universe. Her characters always seem to be distant, or in movement; uncatchable. The settings are recognizable but manipulated to appear unreal, ethereal and as a consequence, almost eternal: the girl running; a lonely, unsmiling woman looking up at a mysterious light in an image called “Happiness;” an Orthodox family with their back to the camera as a winter sun fires up a Jerusalem street – husband rushing in the lead and wife a short distance behind; a couple walking in a dark field, disappearing in the minimal light, arm around shoulder but with downcast heads as if to emphasize the depth or perhaps even sadness of their conversation.
I love her work. In Laor’s hands, every person is unique but representative of a larger, recognizable group. There’s warmth and sadness in the images even as people go about being people – just living their lives.
Shabbat shalom, everybody!