(German, b.1967) is a photographer best known for his large-format meditative landscapes
. Born in Stuttgart but raised in Rome, Esser moved back to Germany in 1986, where he worked as a commercial photographer until 1991. He then enrolled at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf, where he studied with famous photographers Bernd and Hilla Becher
(German, 1931–2007; b.1934). Although influenced by the Becher’s Conceptual teachings, Esser never adopted the grid pattern
characteristic of their work, and his photographs sharply depart from the industrial and architectural subject matter praised by the Bechers and adopted by many of their protégés.
Esser’s landscapes are unmanipulated and simple in their composition; earth, air, and water become almost unidentifiable
in images created using long exposures. Many of his works explore the indefinite expanse of the horizon. His images of bodies of water and their reflections exaggerate this expanse, reinforcing and extending the line where earth and sky meet
. Low horizon lines, muted color schemes, and vast overcast skies offer a romanticized depiction of natural beauty in its purest state. Even in light of very specific titles, Esser’s works remain ambivalent and obscure, which serve to evoke a nostalgic response from viewers. He has had solo exhibitions at the Galleria d’Arte Moderna in Bologna, Italy, the Kunstverein in Hagen, Germany, and at the Herzog Foundation in Basel, among other European venues. Esser’s photographs are in the collection of the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, and the Alrbright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo, NY. He lives and works in Düsseldorf.