The sitters in “Continuum,” a series of photographs by Ora Lev, are all woman immigrants. Having had to start their lives again in place whose culture and language are foreign to them, they are perceived as something of a “desert generation” by their children, having to set aside aspirations and self-accomplishment in their new country. And yet, these strong women look straight at the camera, unveiling layers of their personal history, background and origin. Despite the precariousness of their situation, their gaze is deep and piercing.
Contrary to the immediacy of the camera’s shutter movement in analogue photography, here the artist chose to print the exposures on a series of emulsion-coated slabs, various stones carrying such names as Jerusalem stone, Birzeit marble and Hebron marble. Coated with emulsion, the slabs now serve as photographic plates, yet their rugged texture makes it difficult to fix the image, necessitating a long and complicated process. Ora Lev resorted to stones precisely because it contrasts with the decisiveness of the moment in which the image is caught, transmitting a sense of rootedness and age.