Marten Elder’s photographs propose revised terms with which the properties of photography and seeing can be renegotiated in light of digital and technological developments.
No longer satisfied to make use of the digital camera to replicate the look of colour film, which was in itself an attempt to approximate human vision, Elder uses the distinct characteristics of the digital camera to capture and process visual information in a new way. The amount of information that is captured by digital cameras is extraordinary. Through careful interpretation of the raw data, Elder produces photographs that disrupt spatial hierarchy and that are intensely vibrant in their tonal range. The colours may seem synthetic at first, but they all exist in the world in the same relative relationship to one another, and it is this representation of the world that is of great interest to Elder. Working in the realm of “straight photography,” the spatial situations depicted in the photographs—sidewalks, curbs, corners, and niches—are selected by the artist for their potential to be both photographs of the physical world and images of photographic technology. It is through this conscious attention to visual perception that Marten Elder is helping reshape the relationship between photography, technology, and perceptual experience.