“The photographs attract the viewer, seduce him closer then challenge him to reflect on their meaning and implications.” – Shai Kremer
I admit that upon first viewing Shai Kremer’s ‘Infected Landscapes’ I skipped past the introductory text to view the body of work. Logically I was thinking I should read this first so that I can put these photographs into context and be better informed when viewing them but my instincts to view first and understand later took over.
As Shai Kremer put it in the quote above, I did become seduced and drawn into these landscapes he had captured. There are clear traces of human presence the photographs, from the military aircrafts flying through the skies to the soldiers footprints left behind in the sand. It is also clear to see that the human presence captured in this body of work is from the effects of war that have scarred the landscape.
Infected Landscapes is a photographic series looking at the military effects on the Israeli landscape and society. Kremer being influenced by the words of Susan Sonntag and the work of Richard Misrach has produced this body of work, which causes the viewer to be drawn in by the beauty of the images and then faced with the political issues raised.
I found the structuring of the series quite interesting, covering a wide range of effects. For the majority of the first half there is a great focus on the effects on the natural landscape with several photographs of vast green areas, that have been destroyed in one way or another. The focus is slowly drawn more towards the social effects, how it has altered the way of living in this country with the odd photograph featuring a human figure, which act as a reminder that it is affecting a culture as well as the natural landscape.