‘Tombelaine III’ is an intimate photographic work by Elger Esser created in 2018. Printed onto silver copperplate and carefully brushed with shellac, Esser captures the soft blue tones and mirage-like air of an island off the coast of France. His landscape photography often draws on 19th century literature and antique postcards, evoking a sense of suspended time. ‘Tombelaine III’ transports the viewer through its shimmering light and long focus like a Romantic static.
All the details are correct, nothing has been retouched, but still everything seems to be dream-like and still. The resulting objets d’art are luminous and precious, holding the viewer’s gaze and leading them into a time and place that is distant yet familiar.
Elger Esser’s works are in the collections of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, among others. Notably, he studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf under Bernd and Hilla Becher. Fundamentally different from the famed members of the Düsseldorf School, including Andreas Gursky and Thomas Struth, Esser’s photographs espouse a craftsman-based heritage rather than a conceptual deconstruction of the medium.