Each photo in Manuel Estheim’s body of work is a riveting surprise. It is impossible to look at his imagery and appreciate it only on the surface. It draws you in deeper to a more emotional and abstract layer of subconscious thoughts. To say that his photography is original is somewhat of an understatement. His portfolio truly embodies a particular essence that is difficult to put into words, and yet, leafing through the pages of fiction in this issue, it is easy to notate which images are his. Capturing and strengthening one’s own voice is amongst the most difficult things to accomplish for an artist of any discipline. Manuel Estheim’s photography is a visual representation of what it means to tell dozens of completely individual stories while maintaining a voice that is uniquely one’s own.
At the same time, each of his photographs are so universal and provide us with narrow glimpses into the depths of the human condition. Manuel Estheim is an artist based in Austria, yet anyone, from any country, can view these photographs and identify them with their own lives, their own memories of fear, confusion, and the quiet pangs of ennui. The study of the male form as art is a refreshing break from the typical objectification of women in western culture and photography. Common in Manuel’s work is a nature setting and the dark woods paint the allegory for man’s search for meaning. His use of nudity in dark environments boils the subject down to a primal level, a shape identifiable simply as mankind. The stories he explores are so timeless in their abstraction and really articulate the spirit of experimentation that Literary Orphans’ aims for in fiction. By playing with the elements, and breaking the rules, the viewer or the reader is caught unexpectedly in a new paradigm, while still given an expanse of space to contemplate the world in a new height.
We are very honored to share with our readers so many of Manuel’s photos in this edition of Literary Orphans and encourage everyone to become followers of his work online. To see more of his portfolio or contact him professionally, please visit his deviantART profile, or his Facebook Photography page.