It's all relative
Ally links past and present with her great, great grandfather's photographs
Three years ago when photographer Ally Lusher discovered a collection of archived images taken by her great, great grandfather — one of Bermuda's preeminent early photographers — she said it was a case of divine “happenstance”.
Now the 26-year-old is preparing to release a coffee-table book of photos called 'Generations Apart, NE Lusher Revisited'. In it, Ms Lusher set out to recreate the scenes from her ancestor Nicholas Ethelbert Lusher's photos as close to exact as possible.
The book is currently available exclusively at Brown and Co for $50; it will also be available at the Bermuda Historical Society next month. She will be doing book signings at the department store during Corporate Nights from November 13 to 15; and will also be on hand at the Bermuda Historical Society holiday party, located next to the National Library in Queen Elizabeth Park, on December 14.
She said: “When I came across the Bermuda Historical Society's collection of NE Lusher images at the archives three years ago, I felt a very tangible connection with my ancestor and instantly was inspired to create a book.
“There have been no other professional photographers in the Lusher family for over 100 years since NE, so it seemed like a unique opportunity to create a 'then and now' Bermuda photography book with the twist of bridging a generational gap.”
She said she grew up knowing that her great great grandfather was a photographer of his day, but “didn't consciously choose photography for this reason”. “It's actually very interesting though, our career paths are almost parallel,” she said.
Ms Lusher attended the Savannah College of Art and Design and graduated with a bachelor of fine arts in Photography. She currently works as a photographer for the Department of Communication and Information.
Her grandfather was born in the Turks and Caicos, but having visited Bermuda frequently as a child decided to relocate to the Island to open a photography shop called NE Lusher & Sun in the early 1880s. Mr Lusher purposefully spelt it 'Sun' because of his witty sense of humour, she explained.
After retiring from photography, he purchased the Grassmere Hotel and later died in the United States in 1932.
Ms Lusher said she began the process of creating the book three years ago after being granted access to the Bermuda Historical Society's NE Lusher collection that is housed in the Bermuda Archives, by way of the Society's Andrew Bermingham and John Cox.
She said there were some challenges involved “as Bermuda's built environment has changed drastically in the past century”. “From a research aspect, most Bermudians know of NE Lusher, but there is a scarcity of general information about him. [The archive staff] were very helpful in finding long lost research.”
While it has been a fairly long road to get published, she said it's ultimately been a “very rewarding” process learning more about her family history.
“I definitely feel a connection [with NE Lusher] that wasn't there before I began the book. It's very interesting how through research and recreating his work, I feel as though I know him, even though that was never possible.”
Ms Lusher said she didn't have a favourite photo, but admitted it was fascinating to recreate all the photo locations and show the history and development of the Island.
“I'm particularly drawn to the Causeway image that is used on the cover for its symbolic purpose. [It really is] bridging the generational gap.”
She said the book would be a great gift for anyone interested in the Island's history or photography in general. “I'm thrilled with the finished product — it still feels surreal even though its here and on bookshelves.”
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