“I believe in a visual language that should be as strong as the written word.” These words, from American artist David LaChapelle, have been deeply influential to the practice of Gal Shahar – an Israeli photographer who looks at image-making as a form of literature. Her most recent project, Contemplation, is suitably steeped in narrative – exploring the relationships and encounters we have with ourselves.
The resulting works are shown here. Light diffuses into darkened rooms. Figures bend and stretch amongst wildflowers. Elsewhere are swathes of rich velvet and plants withering in vases. Drawing her inspiration from the written word, the artist sees photography as “a means of creating a wordless story… it can captivate the viewer with a plot and moments from everyday life.”
For Shahar, it’s important to stop and consider our daily routines: to observe what we do when alone. “Sometimes little moments can seem insignificant, but these moments hold several meanings,” the artist explains. “For me, photography records the visible and can imply the invisible.” Shahar achieves this through careful consideration: light and shadow, minimalism and simplicity, symmetry and balance.
Contemplation is a work in progress, with the images shown here part of a growing collection. Each shot offers viewers a moment to pause, encouraging them to slow down and take note of everyday encounters. As light bounces off skin and silken fabrics, we are reminded of the stories we all have to tell.
Words: Eleanor Sutherland
All images courtesy Gal Shahar, from Contemplation