“Less Roses”

Galerie Sfeir-Semler

Of all the many students of Bernd and Hilla Becher who have gone on to earn critical acclaim in the art world, Elger Esser is arguably the most romantic. Where the photographs of Andreas Gursky or Candida Höfer are cool and clinical, Esser’s are infused with warmth. Esser has traveled to Lebanon several times and created a series of landscapes capturing salt flats in the north, archaeological ruins in the south, and strangely poetic views of Naqoura, a town better known as a political hot spot and the headquarters for UNIFIL, the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon, which since 1978 has been trying, often in vain, to keep the conflict between Lebanon and Israel from erupting into all-out war. His landscapes can be nearly monochromatic, yet the edges are almost always soft, the colors diffuse, and the compositions nearly gauzy in effect.

It comes as little surprise, then, that Esser’s

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