Series: Ocean Air
First the Backstory
The works of Shai Kremer are curated into projects with a concurrent theme. Being born in Israel and living in New York, his focus remains on industrial landscapes that reflect on society.
His photos feature concrete structures with interesting shapes and broken down structures.
The color scheme is always subdued and the use of soft light and evening glow add to the way he can take something hard and show it in a gentler way.
The way in which he positions the frames showcase the buildings in an angle of power and glory, lifting the perception of the object from junk and rubble. The minimalism in Kremer’s photos simplifies a cluttered junkyard to a single focus point.
The idea of nature taking back what man has demolished runs through his pieces. Grass overgrowing the cracks and desert sands piling over stonewalls reminds the viewer of out temporary occupation of this space.
The structures are frequently shot in solitude, highlighting that it is all that remains of an era. In his compellation “Infected Landscapes” he shot images reminding of the military effect on Israel’s landscape. He went on to do a series in his new home, New York. Here he goes to the places that others might not have seen and the desolation left behind by industrial advancement.
Inspiration to interpretation
What appealed to me most in his work was the way in which these structures could be seen in a negative light, yet his photos show these objects as modern art. There are traces of his style throughout his work but the images remain interesting and eye catching without becoming predictable.
The image below shows the inspiration for the colour scheme, which I decided to carry through my whole series. I was also drawn to the horizontal line in the middle, which, as seen in my image below, was placed on the edge of the horizon to lead the eye far in to the scene.
The decay of the building tells the story of its location, an empty dining room in an Israel scared by war. The space was used by the army for many years and the writing on the wall is a fitting quote saying: ““Every Jewish mother should know that the life of her son is in the caring hands of the proper general.”
Traces in my image below were also inspired by the style of Gregory Crewdson, who prints his images on a large format within which the viewer can inspect and find smaller points of interest. In the photo placed here to the left one would notice the abandoned broom laying in solitude and the bird coming in to land on the ground.
I decided to shoot the series on a partly cloudy day to minimize shadows and contrast and having a sky that is still has sweeping cloud shapes.
The location of the series is the Sea Point Pavilion swimming pools which is currently undergoing a 3 month restoration before the rainy season. I also photographed an old pier that is in between the rocks next to the swimming pool area which had a cross-like shape which reminds of the probable future of the swimming pool if left unattended to and allowed to decay. In that photo the positioning of the frame was in reference to the way in which Kremer places his points of interests in the centre of the image dividing it in half with symmetry. The walkway of the pier being slightly off centre was a break from the rigid symmetry yet still feels balanced.
Though the scene was littered with dirt and decay I chose to use soft colours and focus on adding balance and simplicity to the photo and in that way allow it to add texture and a sense of three dimensionality to the frame. The result was a sense of serenity rather than sadness or disgust. I want the viewer to see the puddles, rocks and cement as something natural which adds to our industrialized habitats rather than subtract from it.