Stek by Els Martens
How do we look at a photograph of a place when there are no anchor points? How do we approach the surface of a landscape, rendered flat in an image, when there is no significant horizon, or when there are no trees for scale? Onto what do we cling our gaze? (Rocks, solid as they may be, are deceptive in size and therefore unreliable.)
‘Stek’ is a word that speaks of a certain space, or a certain spot in a certain space. In this book, Els Martens deals with a certain space through a series of photographs. By shifting the viewpoint gradually to the right, she invites us to truly enter the landscape, to scrutinise and discover it.
Turning the pages, we see human clutter, we see a bridge across the river, we see some houses and a satellite dish, and ultimately we see tiny human being. Things finally fall into place; scales begin to make sense, despite the always slightly shifting focal point. In a way, we are able to bring it home, this image of a place.
Our eyes touch ground.
Text by Stefan Vanthuyne