You can taste the salt-water of the Atlantic in the air. The weather was at least twenty degrees cooler near the coast. The tides are moving in and out down by the harbor, people are swimming in the ocean, dogs are kicking up sand as they chase Frisbees and novels are being read. Summer is upon us. New England happens to be a very popular vacation destination this time of year, and with the value of the Euro far exceeding the US Dollar, the influx of tourists this summer will be at peak levels.
Traveling northbound on Route 95, an hour-long drive without traffic awaits you on any summer weekend. Through the tollbooth in Hampton you cross the borders of New Hampshire then into Maine. The exit sign seems rather personal, The York’s/Ogunquit’s - Exit 7. Off of Route 1 and nestled close to Perkins Cove you will find the Stone Crop Gallery.
Far from the streets of Boston and the South End, this gallery doesn’t have the recognizable facade of a location on Newbury Street or the brushed cement floor galleries of Harrison Ave. You enter the gallery from the ground level and the first thing you will notice besides the art is the large ledge of rock protruding from the earth at one end of the gallery. Built from old timbers salvaged from barns and various other structures, this home, studio and gallery is now owned by photographer Dana Berenson, a part-times resident of both York, Maine and Brookline, Massachusetts.
This month, the Stone Crop Gallery presents Yoav Horesh: Seascapes 2003-2007. These black and white panoramic photographs reflect the perception one has as they look down a beach and out toward the horizon - lengthy and vast. The images were taken from various spots around the world, from the Gulf of Thailand to the Red Sea, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean.
It’s not too hard to figure out what you are looking at in, Mediterranean Sea (Tarifa) 2005. The Spaniards want to make it perfectly clear that from this view it is not the Atlantic peering back at you. Although Horesh places the sign dead center in the frame, what truly gives the picture balance is what is on the outer edges. The lighthouse and boat on the left side take on a similar visual perspective coupled with the rocks and land mass that makes up the right side of the frame.
The Seascape project came on the tail end of a much larger, separate body of work titled, Aftermath, from which Horesh captured the trauma and memory of sites where suicide bombings took place in Israel. Unlike Aftermath that hints toward the documentary, Seascapes have a more ethereal feel as they take on the embodiment of Harry Callahan’s image of Eleanor wading up to her hips in Lake Michigan and what could be an unconscious response to the Ansel Adams surf sequences from California.
Horesh, an avid scuba diver, took his camera underwater in 2004 in an attempt to capture the ambiguous landscapes beneath the foaming crests of the sea. This exploration, coupled with the images on land help to define our changing landscapes. These Scapes, a shortened variation of the word used by photographers to depict either landscapes or seascapes are not of the variety of say Hiroshi Sugimoto who’s views of the ocean have no signs of a human presence and are a way for him to concentrate and contemplate our very existence on this planet. The seascapes in Horesh’s body of work are an idyllic view - a straightforward statement. For Horesh, he feels these images are about a constantly changing view of the sea, from the varying light or weather conditions, to the presence/non-presence of people during recreation.
On first glace, you get the sense that he may have staged the people within the images of these repetitive forms. Contemporary photographers are notorious for staging their own narratives to construct some surreal experience that never actually happened. Horesh has assured me that all images are found moments. This truthful depiction helps to give Horesh’s unembellished images more weight.
"Yoav Horesh, Seascapes 2003-2007" is on view at StoneCrop Gallery, located at 805 Shore Road, Ogunquit, ME.
All images are courtesy of the artist and StoneCrop Gallery. Callahan image courtesy of Stephen Daiter Gallery.