Photographs by Uri Gershuni, Texts by Nissim Gal, Rotem Rozental
Sternthal Books, Montreal, 2013. 176 pp., 60, 9x11¼".
Yesterday’s Sun is a new body of work by photographer Uri Gershuni that returns to the origins of photography in order to meditate upon its future.
Gershuni travelled to the home of photography’s inventor, William Henri Fox Talbot, in Lacock, England, where he photographed Talbot’s home and its environs. Gershuni used a digital pin-hole camera that he made by replacing the lens with a tiny hole. The long exposures that resulted re-capture a materiality eluded by the ‘reproducibility’ of digital photography. Gershuni’s frames capture elements of surprise - stains of light – amongst other motifs, that resemble the remains of some invisible ghost. Interspersed amongst these grainy epitaphs are a series of nude photographs featuring a young man posing in a stark room. We know nothing about him, or of his relationship to the images that surround him, other then that he goes by the name Bambi. Regardless, there is a strong dialogue between Gershuni’s subject and the barrenness of Lacock, one that enhances the eroticism of this strangers presence.
The resulting work is a powerful visual allegory that fluctuates between past and future, father and son, absence and presence. This continual back and forth – between photography’s deceased master, and the vitality of Gershuni’s young subject, between the coldness of absence and the intimacy of live flesh – sheds light on current anxieties over photography’s hypertrophy – its increased proliferation and the simultaneous retraction in its ability to transmit meaning. It also calls our attention to the artist’s own search, perhaps, for a father figure of his own.