If you look carefully at the works of Ilan Besor over the past 25 years, you cannot help but notice that erotica plays an important, albeit elusive role. Besor is an unusually prolific photographer who works in all facets of professional photography. He takes pictures for advertising agencies and theaters and for personal projects of specular landscapes and wonderful erotic photographs.
A single visit to his website brings up hundreds of his portrait shots that now adorn the covers of albums, singles and press articles. Despite this diversity, an indication of what a supreme professional he is, Besor I no 'assembly line' photographer. More than being able to photograph "anything and anyone", he is a photographer whose handling and unique perspective through the lens can turn any subject into a star within the "Besor" solar system.
This exhibition focuses on his portrait photos of Israeli musicians, which he has been taking since the early 1990s. These images create a sense that the performers were all in his studio in the heart of Tel Aviv – from the young Aviv Gefen, Yirmi Kaplan, and Ivri Lider to the mature Gidi Gov, Shlomo Gronich, Efraim Shamir and Yehuda Poliker. Besor's musicians look like a band of individuals with attitude, with distinct personalities and egos, who, together, make up an unofficial troop, if you will. It is hardly surprising that Ernesto (Che) Guevara is one of his idols to this very day. Che was a radical revolutionary who still embodies the freedom of spirit that can sweep the masses along with him, like a true rocker.
Besor almost always photographs his musicians in a distinguished black and white, emphasizing the exaggerated struggle between light and shade, giving them a somewhat theatrical appearance. This illusion is almost entirely the play of the camera, a kind of costume that reveals a simple and direct truth. Even where the "staging" is obvious, Besor has his subjects look straight into the camera, and through it, directly into our eyes. Even those who wear sunglasses (Danny Litani, Berry Sakharov, and Rami Fortis, for example) or mask their face with their hand can never truly hide. The eyes of Yoni Rechter and Arkady Duchin are completely shut, but this actually reveals the tremendous refinement and shyness of these two lyrical composers. The real power of Besor's work derives from his ability to offer his subjects a temptation they cannot refuse, a temptation that goes right to the heart of their profession. He creates a kind of stage, and with a dedicated and watchful eye, two perfect pitfalls that even experienced "stage animals" want to fall into. The erotica of nude photography that Ilan Besor creates in his personal projects can be found here, too, between the black and the white, between the direct gaze and what is more concealed.
Eran Litvin, Curator