Till Lesser



Since 1979 until today Till Leeser is situated in Hamburg/Germany, working as a commercial and editorial and photographer for international Agencies and Companies

His artwork is shown in galleries and museums.

2006—2010 frequent travels for international car companies to china.

2005—2006 lecturer at Miami AD School Hamburg.

2006 lecturer at Design Factory Europe Hamburg.

1995-1997 lecturer at University of Applied Sciences Hamburg

1977—1979 as a free lance photographer in Paris

1977 Master of Arts in Photography and Visual Communications

1972—1977 Studied at the Folkwangschule in Essen, under Prof.Dr. Otto Steinert and Prof.Willi Fleckhaus.

1970 graduation from high school in Frankfurt/Germany







Till Leeser

My education in fine art photography and the artistic involvement with work groups that are abstractions of my surroundings in black and white, have always left a lot of room for individual  interpretation. But, I was devoted to an abstract vision due to the influence of my teacher Otto Steinert and his vivid ideas of >subjective photography< , which turned out to become my main focus of interest.   My work cycle "Nature Morte" that I started in 2004, is the logic continuation of my previous photographs. I was recognising nature as a source of graphic resemblances that display the principles of beauty even in so-called waste. The first motives were objects I found, dead plants, branches and leaves, but also small animals like dried insects. I was fascinated by their frozen and bizarre appearances. I collected these items in empty houses, underneath trees and pergolas and also at the beach. It reminded me of stuffing the pockets of my trousers with everything I found when I was a little boy -  a very primal and humane activity to gather things -  simply useful items. I collected because I found these objects beautiful.I saw structures and shapes evolving out of the accumulation of matter; almost like a landscape that unveils a live of its own.Another series of this cycle consists mostly of man made materials like plastic fences, bags and old fishnets or pieces of nature like seaweed and mussels.Isolated from their original context and torn apart, these items are detached from their original features. They turn into patterns, sometimes multilayered ones, by creating shadows that form patterns in themselves.Going through drawings and etchings of the 16th century (see J.Hoefnagel (Fig. 1) at the end of this page) I rediscover the very same fascination for the detailed depiction of deceased matter, such as roots, mice, beatles and other dead objects that people have  brought home from their travels. The composed structure of those pictures refers to the creative order of the world like the structures of my pictures - they are being played out like dices. For me as a photographer, the coincidence is the most important determinant. I don't intervene, I see something happen in front of my eyes (in front of the camera).Bringing these dead objects back to life, is the surprising part. The immaterial beauty of the shadows is something tender and agile. It is a tangency (dialogue?) of the immaterial with the dead, the matter. Somehow, this beauty is a solace.In contrast to the periphery nature of my pictures,I create these photographs with the highest precision digital technique allowes me.And the printing on rag paper in highest solution gives those photographs the quality of etchings.                       




Dead or Alive

On the pictures from the series “Nature Morte”.


Reinhold Scheer 


Was it the analytical confrontation with the earthly and the hereafter? The critical examination of both, approbated by the authorities on high, by religion and church, and headed with the greatest of all admonitions: memento mori. Or did the great and lesser painters use the genre “Nature Morte” to free themselves from classical motifs that equally sprang from the fount of faith? From religious and biblical motifs, but also  from portraits of the high and mighty or depictions of Creation in the form of idealized landscapes? Or was it simply that they had had enough of painting mythical bloodbaths of yore, and those of the present, too? It’s probable that questions like these built the foundation for a new universe of European painting, and not only that of the Middle Ages. After all the seeking in distant religious or mythological climes, a universe that discovered something almost embarassingly shameful: the immediately natural. A flower. A glass. A board with a knife. A butterfly. A bowl of peaches. A snake. A book. A plant. All beautifully arranged, composed and set in the right light. As arrangement everything already picture-perfect, a picture placed before the picture which now only needed to be painted. Yet here too the painters were unable to avoid the deeper questions of meaning. A death’s-head skull as ingredient, a bird’s broken eye, desiccated beetles and stiff vipers turned into ambassadors of the earthly and the hereafter while erecting a cautionary memorial to reflect and linger addressed to those rushing through life.

What links the “Nature Morte” from then with the “Nature Morte” of now? Are the pictures by Braque and Morandi an expression of similar reflections? One could presume so, but the topic here is not the painted picture, the copperplate engraving, the drawing. The topic is “Nature Morte” in photography. Though not during its beginnings, since the middle of the previous century at the latest it has laid claim to being a synonym for “Nature Morte”. The German counterpart “Stilleben” and the English equivalent “still life” gave rise to the worldwide launch of the generic concept  of a “still”. Just as with the painting colleagues of centuries past, nowadays there are genres of their own in photography. Photographers who shoot bloodbaths, photographers for reporting, landscape photographers, society photographers, photographers who have specialized in portraits, fashion photographers and others. Even photographers who photograph heaven and hell, except that heaven and hell look different these days.

What sets still photographers apart from their many colleagues? For them, the same applies that applies for painters of “Nature Morte”: they work on two pictures. On the picture they arrange and on the picture of that image. And yet the result is so infinitely farapart, despite the common denominator. Today’s still photographer sets off into a design space involving extreme opposites. On the one hand the photographer refers to one of photography’s greatest promises: to depict reality as it is. On the other the photographer avails themself of the ever-greater manipulative potential photography offers. In other words, for the term that has entered into everday language usage as if it were the most natural thing in the world: imaging (whatever is not provided by the motif, camera, lighting and subject is supplied by imaging).

To grasp the pictures in “Nature Morte” by Till Leeser it’s worth taking a much closer look at the objects one encounters in them. And almost as if it were a matter of course, another term from art history crops up: the “objet trouvé”. The piece of plastic, the stopper, the cord, the branch, the foil, the dead mouse, the scrap of paper: found!

Found yes, but also selected for the picture that is to become photography later on. And naturally the objects were sought out, brought together and composed according to a more or less precise, more or less deliberate plan. Here again it’s worth taking a look at classic artistic figures. The objects group themselves into symbols and patterns, into graphic abbreviations, into details that surrender their self-reliant existence in favor of ornament, structure and scriptural message. This occurrence nearly annuls the objects’ spatiality as well. Motif by motif, tableaus arise which speak a language all their own on several levels at once. A language that cites; a language whose meaning emerges from the inner relationship of the objects depicted; a language that is puzzling, alien, merely superficially familiar and decodable. And what’s more, a language that moves objects to part ways with the third dimension in order to articulate themselves in the second dimension. When one moves from picture to picture in Till Leeser’s “Nature Morte” and allows their large measure of stand-aloneness to take effect, the pleasure of beholding unites with the observation: this “Nature Morte” is impressively vigorous and alive.




Echo of Eternity

Till Leeser's Nature Morte


Paolo San Vito  


The concerns of Till Leeser's work seem at first sight some of ancient art from Antiquity to the Renaissance: death and consumption, destruction; the fragility and transitivity of all things of which is made our world. An open reference to the work of ancient masters, espacially the painters, who dealt with this context of significance, such as vanitas-scenes, the circularity of the cycle of life, the phases of time (such as the seasons or the phases of the moon, et. sim.) is found in his own words. Leeser hints to some of them - although clearly not in order to simply present himself in continuity with them. The attraction to the ancient schools of painting from all over the world, which from the Dutch realism through Arcimboldo to even the Far-Eastern landscape masters is just too strong, for him as much as for the whole of Western civilization. They actually all root very deeply in our common, collective imagination - even the Japanese artists do, who since at least Impressionism influenced so strongly the Parisians, and therefore will never ever fall into oblivion. 

But these concerns, as I said, are only apparently, at first glance, the same of Leeser's Nature Morte. His work goes a step further in its reflection of transitivity, to land on a territory outside of historical space and time. 

There is an intrinsic recognition, a proper insight into the order, the logical, nearly mathematical discipline of all creation, of all nature in itself, constantly seeking for a re-setting of matter, of all materiality into a primary stage of quietness. A formal feature of the physical phenomenon of entropy: the Godhead of decomposition, of destruction, the ancient Greek Pluto, is also responsible for re-ordering all things in a dimension of systematicity, which is just the opposite of chaos. This way, the 沅isordered" objects, even the remains of all dead beings, come back to a new 沆ife", at least in terms of their order: because we feel there is no order where there is no form of life - even if on a very reduced base, where liveliness has nearly completely disappeared.  This is probably the reason why Leeser feels consolated by the perception of his own work, and of its sujet, its objects. One can envisage the rebirth of all dead, exactly while considering the traces left behind by death.

I could even hint to a sort of unplanned, involuntary return of transcendence, rebirth of all dead in the images. 

And in considering this latter aspect, all memories of the ancients, of the former artistic schools and their different trends smoothly eclipse. They all do not talk to us any more, in comparison, as they violently bring back to the feeling of mortality, of the inexorable toughness of destiny. What instead, without reminding them, remains while looking at Leeser is a taste of eternity, of absoluteness - even if in a very mild, distant echo.

Images are mediations between man and world.




Towards A Philosophy of Photography

by Villem Flusser 1989


Images are significant surfaces. In most cases, they signify something "out there," and are meant to render that thing imaginable for us, by abstracting it, by reducing its four dimensions of space-plus-time to the two dimensions of a plane. The specific capacity to abstract planes form the space-time "out there," and to re-project this abstraction back "out there" might be called "imagination." It is the capacity to produce and decipher images, the capacity to codify phenomena in two-dimensional symbols, and then to decode such symbols. 

The significance — the meaning — of images rests on their surfaces. It may be seized at a glance. However, in this case the meaning seized will be superficial. If we want to give meaning any depth, we have to permit our glance to travel over the surface, and thus to reconstruct abstracted dimensions. This traveling of the eyes over the surface of an image is "scanning." The path followed by our scanning eyes is complex, because it is formed both by the image structure and by the intentions we have in observing the image. The meaning of the image as it is disclosed by scanning, then, is the synthesis of two intentions: the one manifest in the image itself,the other in the observer. Thus, images are not "denoting" symbol-complexes such as numbers, for instance, but "connoting" symbol-complexes: images offer room for interpretation.

As the scanning glance travels over the image surface, it grasps one image element after another: it establishes a time-relation between them. It may return to an element already seen, and thus it transforms "before" into "after." This time dimension, as it is reconstructed through scanning, is thus one of eternal return. The glance may return over and over again to the same image element, establishing that element as a center of the meaning of the image. Scanning establishes' meaningful relationships between elements in the image. Space dimensions, as reconstructed through

scanning, are those meaningful relationships, those complexes within which one element gives meaning to all the others, and receives its own meaning from all the others in return.

Such space-time as reconstructed from images is proper to magic, where everything repeats itself and where everything partakes of meaningful context. The world of magic is structurally different from the world of historical linearity, where nothing ever repeats itself, where-everything is an effect of causes and will become a cause of further effects. For example, in the/historical world, sunrise is the cause of the; cock's crowing; in the 'magical world, sunrise means crowing' and '1 crowing means sunrise. Images have magical meaning.

If images are to be deciphered, their magical character must be taken into account.

It is a mistake to decipher images as if they were "frozen events." On the contrary, they are translations of events into; situations; they substitute scenes for events. Their magical power is due to their surface structure, and their inherent dialectics, their inner contradictions, must be appreciated in light of this magic they have.  




2006 在漢堡Design Factory Europe 做講師。

2005 – 2006 在漢堡邁阿密廣告學院做講師。

1995 – 1997在漢堡應用科學大學當講師。


1977 – 1979 在法國巴黎當自由攝影師。

1977 攝影與視覺通訊碩士學位。

1972 – 1977 在Dr. Otto Steinart 和 Dr. Willi Fleckhaus指導下在埃森的富克旺根藝術大學读书。 






帝尔 · 李瑟















莱茵霍尔德 . 希尔


那是与俗世和将来的对质分析吗?二者的关键检验被有关当局以及宗教与教堂高度认可:与最伟大的忠告前进。死的象征,或者是艺术家李瑟以自然物的形式把他们从古典的来源于信仰的意念中解放出来。来源于宗教与圣经的信念,但也来源于大人物的肖像或者是对理想胜景的创造性的描述。或者仅仅是已经有了足够虚构描绘的往昔的大屠杀,还有现有的那些。很可能的是,像那样的问题建立了欧洲绘画秩序的基础,而不仅仅是中世纪的。毕竟那些遥远宗教或者神圣国土 ,甚至是宇宙中被发现的令人难看的的东西,恰恰就是自然:一枝花,一只杯子,放刀的木板,一只蝴蝶,一盘桃子,一条蛇,一本书,一株植物,所有的在合适的光线下的美好的安排组合与设置等。正如所安排的一样,每样东西都已经完美,在他完美之前的工作都已完成。.然而对这些画家来说不可避免的想到其更深层的意义。一个死者的头骨,一只鸟的瞎的眼睛,干瘪的甲虫和强硬的家伙转变成表达俗世与将来的大使,而竖立了警戒的纪念碑来反映且 记录了生活。

是什么把那个时候的自然物连接到现在的呢?布拉格和莫兰迪的图片有着相似的表达吗? 那么假定如此,但是这里讨论的并不是油画,铜版画,或其他的绘画作品。这里的话题是自然物的摄影作品。虽然不是从开始,但至少是从世纪之前就作为了自然物的同义词。德语的静物与英语中的静物引起了世界范围内的静的通常概念。就像几个世纪之前的绘画同仁们,而现在他们都有自己的摄影风格。.如拍摄大屠杀的摄影师,记者摄影师,风景摄影师,社会摄影师,肖像摄影师,时尚摄影师,和其他的。甚至是拍摄天堂与地狱的,只可惜那些日子里他们是如此的不同。



基于正确的理念,但是也选择了将来会真正永恒的作品。很自然这些作品被准确而有目的的选出来,被组合在了一起。这些作品非常值得再次细细的品味。这些物体自己组成了一种象征和模式,成为一种缩影,聚居成一种自我依存的装饰,结构与神圣的履约。这样也几乎消减了其空间性,一个一个得信念,他们立刻以不同的形态诉说着生动的画面。.一个城市的语言,一个有着内在的力量的实体语言,一个让人迷惑陌生仅仅是表面熟悉的语言。.更重要的是 那是一种可以多面展示他们自己的一种语言。






Paolo San Vito


对于李瑟先生作品的关注,初次看来就像文艺复兴时期的上古艺术:世界万物的死亡,消逝,脆弱,以及生命的延续性。从中我们可以看到古代大师的艺术语言,特别是设计了那些有重要意义背景的 画家,比如虚幻场景,周期生命的循环性,时间的不同阶段(比如月亮的阴晴圆缺等)。李瑟暗示了其中的一些东西---虽然不能简单清楚地的以连续性来诠释他们。宗派绘画的魅力,比如说从荷兰Arcimboldo写实主义到远东风景大师,对他来说就像整个西方文明一样强烈。而事实上他们都是根源于我们的普通生活,收集其想象力,甚至是受巴黎人强烈影响的日本印象派艺术家也是如此。因此这种生活艺术绝对不会被渐渐遗忘。












Villem Flusser 1989


影像是值得注意的表面。在大多数情况下,它们意味着一个东西“在那里”,通过使之抽象、通过将时空中的四维空间减少为一个平面中的二维空间,使它成为我们可以想象的。从具体的事物到抽象的平面,这个转变使时空凝聚 “在那里”,并使这个抽象化的东西再回到 “那里”,这可以被称为“想象力”。这就是制造并破解形象的能力,这就是将事物编成二维符号、然后再将这些符号解码的能力。

影像的意义 – 含义落在它们的表面上。它可能一目了然,然而,在这种情况下,你理解的含义是表面的。如果我们想使它带有任何深层的含义,我们必须允许我们的目光扫过表面,从而重建抽象的层面。这种目光的移动,便是对一个影像表面的 “审视”。我们审视的眼光跟随的这条路径是复杂的,因为它由两种东西组成,一个是该影像的结构,一种个我们观察该影像时的意图。影像的含义是经过审视以后才显露出来的,那么,它就是两个意图的综合体:一个表现在影像本身,另一个从观察者中体现。因此,影像并不“表示”像数字一样的符号物;但是它“暗示”着符号物:影像为我们的理解提供空间。