Elger Esser (b. 1967, Stuttgart, Germany) was raised in Rome and in 1986 moved to Düsseldorf, Germany where he worked as a commercial photographer until 1991. He then attended the Düsseldorf Kunstacademie, studying with Bernd and Hilla Becher. In 1996, a trip to Lyon yielded a turning point in Esser's aesthetic and practice. Working from a childhood fascination with cartes de vistses, or postcards, he created the experience of travelling to "archaic locales in the middle of nowhere" both familiar and foreign. Esser's photographs present the unmanipulated, timeless, romantic landscapes of rural Europe. He photographs beached, wetlands, riverbeds, and valleys. His views are comprised largely of air and water, light and reflection. The stillness of the landscapes and their muted dreamlike palette evokes the sublime, recalling works of landscape painters Caspar David Friedrich and Alfred Bierstadt. The large scale of Esser's prints coupled with the expansive distances and a muted palette create tension between the landscape seen and the landscape
rendered by the artist.