Ori Gersht is an Israeli artist/photographer who now lives and works in London, England. Much of his work comes from his Israeli heritage and, in my mind, is influenced by the struggles that have plagued that region since Israel’s creation after the second world war.

The piece of work above is by Gersht and titled “Blow Up”. This was a piece he did in 2007 (according to the portfolio timeline on his website) and shows a floral arrangement being exploded. These arrangements are depictions of the 19th-century artist Fantin Latour’s still life work. The image on the righthand side is a close-up of the piece.

Gersht captured the moment the floral arrangement exploded on a camera set to shoot at 1/7500 of a second on, one would assume, a setting of high-burst mode.

There would seem to be a significance to the subject being flowers that are being exploded as flowers are often used to denote peace and tranquillity. Gersht has taken something that depicts peacefulness and subjected it to quick and sudden violence.

Another of his works is along the same lines as “Blow Up” and is titled “Pomegranate”.

This too is a recreation of an old masters work, this time it’s Spanish still-life painter, Juan Sanches Cotan’s “Quince, Cabbage, Melon and Cucumber” from 1602. Cotan’s positioning of the elements within his painting are done so with mathematical precision and a need for balance within the frame. This time, though, it is a pomegranate that has been subjected to the high-speed treatment of explosion, violence and camera work whilst being suspended from a piece of string.

The bullet through the pomegranate is also an appreciative nod to the stroboscopic work done by Harold Edgerton and his image of a bullet being frozen in an image as it passes through an apple. 

Not all of Gersht’s work is of violent motion and recreations of old still-life artworks. He’s also done a lot of landscape work that, again, are influenced by the country he was born in, Israel.

The images above are from a series of his titled “Being There”, and is a series of pieces of the Judean desert area that now plays a role as the divide between the troubled West Bank and Israel.

The image on the left shows me an image depicting a physical barrier between the peoples of both sides, whilst the image on the right shows the vast distance between the two sides and tells us just how far apart they are and will, probably, never become closer.