Eric Kellerman is a Briton who has lived near Nijmegen in the Netherlands for just over half his life. In 2008, he retired from academic life to spend even more time on photography.
He works almost entirely in the studio and uses digital equipment from camera to print, although image manipulation is limited to darkroom-like processes. Specialising in the nude, he has a regular team of female collaborators, most of whom have a serious interest in movement (dance, drama therapy, athletics, martial arts). Sometimes, when there is no model available, he photographs vegetables and fruit out of desperation. He is doing more fashiony things these days too.
Kellerman used to consider his work to be distant, abstract, melancholic, ‘unerotic’, despite its subject matter. Now he’s not so sure. He emphasises line, geometrical form, texture, implicit movement, and above all, chiaroscuro. He likes to create ambiguity in his photos, so that the viewer is sometimes unsure what part of the body is being looked at. In this way, he attempts to free the female body of its conventional associations.
He has been influenced by surrealism (Dali, Magritte, Delvaux’ nudes and railway stations) and the Canadian ‘magic realist’ painter Alex Colville, whose occluded bodies in essentially intimate scenes can create a surprising sense of alienation. This partial view, the ‘privileged peep’, fits in with Kellerman’s particular aesthetic very well.
In my photography I try to scratch at the surface on the walls of human manners, try to get a sneak behind the masks of the Über-Ich, we all have to wear in our daily lives. The people I work with, have to accomplish psychological tasks I set. It’s always a performance, never a pose, both exhausting and fulfilling for both sides. And also very intense and close…
I use filters I invented, so I can create the fog and clouds “live” during the shooting; there are no digital effects. By applying them, I’m able to decide what is clear to see and what isn’t. To coin a phrase, I use the invisible to amplify the visible.
And sometimes I allow myself simply to show the outrageous beauty of those human beings.