In her ongoing series, Warmer than the Sun, Elise Corten captures the relationship between her and her mother. A visual conversation of portraits, still lives, and landscapes discusses the seemingly mundane yet, strikingly intimate relationship they share. In documenting her mother’s daily rituals, Elise creates a narrative that explores who her mother is, both as a mother and as a person. This narrative redefines maternal intimacy and illuminates her mother’s identity. These photographs portray her willingness to reveal herself to Elise, expressing the emotional and physical changes that connect and divide them.
Elise works on film and her photography primarily explores themes of intimacy, love and relationships. She focusses on long-term documentary photography that looks closely at how relationships can change and adapt over time. Elise shoots on an emotional level and works very intuitively. Elise has always made very personal work, translating her interests directly into her images. Most of her work is a reflection on questions of being a woman and navigating what that means. The images she takes are often a thoughtful contemplation on her surroundings, building a sense of place trough observations of light, places and the people that inhabit them. This series is an extension of her previous work, a similar exploration from another perspective.
Warmer than the Sun originated from Elise taking many photos of her mother around their home in the Belgian countryside. She describes that the process came naturally to them and a series was not in mind prior to shooting. As time went on, she realized her mother was the perfect subject and from there, it became a collaboration between the two of them. Her mother actively participated in making the photographs. The work eventually becomes a photographic investigation of the fragility and intimacy in everyday life, as well as a documentation of one’s life. While the work is about her mother, it is equally a means to contemplate the nature of life and the invisible bonds that connects us all. This is an ongoing project, as Elise intends to photograph herself and her mother for a long time.
Text by Katherine Lopez
Elise Corten (b.1994) is a photographer based in Belgium. She received a BA from Luca School of Arts in 2018 and is currently working on multiple photographic series, whilst finishing her visual arts master’s degree. Her work primarily explores themes of intimacy and connection through long term documentary projects. Elise works on film and aims to illuminate human relationships and the people within them. Her work has been shown in various international publications and exhibitions.