Frank van der Salm (1964)
The sky, the horizon and the quintessential Holland light have proved to be an inexhaustible source of inspiration for painters (and later, photographers) since the Dutch Golden Age. New digital technologies have inspired photographers like Frank van der Salm to revisit the classical genre. Van der Salm uses a special camera that allows him to set the lens surface and the film surface independently of each other. Experimenting with the various applications of this technique, he has produced photographs in which the extreme focus depth produces a curious, otherworldly effect. In one of the first photos using this technique, an aerial view of a Swiss alpine valley, the very unconventional mix of the in-focus and out-of-focus seems to change the scale of the entire image, so that the life-size actual valley suddenly seems reduced to the size of the scenery of a model train set.
Van der Salm brings his lens to bear not only on landscapes, but also urban subjects, photographing tower blocks and neighbourhoods. Is what we see reality or optical illusion? Van der Salm is careful to avoid the technique becoming a gimmick. He feels that the technique must serve the image, rather than vice versa. 'Art does not depend on the medium. You know you have done good work when you can look at it and think, "That's it." That's what it's all about.'*
* M. Van der Laan, ‘Op het grensgebied van orde en chaos’, TU delta, 14.01.1999