German photographer Florian Maier-Aichen was born in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1973. He studied at Högskolan för Fotografi och Film in Göteborg, Sweden, and the University of Essex, Germany, and he received his Master of Fine Arts Degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has been a featured artist on Art21. He now divides his time between L.A. and Cologne, Germany. His digitally altered photographs have been described as approaching the realms of drawing and fiction; they been called alternately romantic, cerebral, and unearthly. He incorporates accidents and imperfections in his work—light leaks, double exposures—and uses computer enhancements to achieve his effects as he explores landscapes and cityscapes of the American West and Europe.
The artist’s more traditional landscape photographs also explore painterly aspects of photography—with saturated infrared hues and seemingly impossible expanses of depth—drawing on the imaginative possibilities of maps, as well as aerial and hot-air balloon photography, and the abstract qualities of landscape.
Maier-Aichen has said, “Photography is everywhere at every moment and has gone from mysterious to fake to simulative. Photography as an opaque medium of process, thought, and craftsmanship is obsolete.” Working with this perception, the artist re-examines the relationship of photography to painting, particularly to pictorialism and German Romanticism. Doing so, he has arrived at methods that revere the history of photography, while also pointing to new possibilities for the photographic image. Turning the idea of photography as a tool to imitate painting on its head, Maier-Aichen works in reverse to re-establish the mysteries of photography itself.