Top Of The Morning

Looking at the dawn, doing the Middle East differently

Morgenland, which means ‘morning country’ in German, is a solo exhibition by German artist Elger Esser, currently showing at the Parasol Unit in Old Street.

The exhibition features a series of east-facing photographs taken early in the morning – an early day diet of what we don’t see in the morning papers.

Esser traveled along the Lebanese shore in 2014 and the navigated the Nile between Luxor and Aswan in 2011. He photographed the banks of rivers, traditional feluccas and dehabiya sailing vessels.

See Genezareth II, Israel, 2015

El-Kab II, Egypt, 2011


El Quarwad, Egypt, 2011

Jisr az-Zarqa I, Israel, 2015

Enfeh I, Lebanon, 2005

En Naquora I, Lebanon, 2005

Saida I, Lebanon, 2015

Some of these pictures represent the ten days of Esser’s first journey to Lebanon in 2004.

His photographs are romantic and calming. They transfer you to a different world, where conflicts don’t exist. For a minute you get to forget about the wars and disputes. Elger has captured an entirely different aspect of the Middle East.

My favourite was a picture of Shivta, Israel, taken in 2015. My snapshot below doesn’t even begin to do justice to the real photograph. The way Esser has captured the early sunset in Israel makes you feel like you are actually sitting on a high point observing it yourself. The picture gives you an illusion of the sun actually rising: as you walk away the sun seems to be going higher. This is the most spectacular visual trick that I have seen in a long while.

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