Elsa Voelker


Elsa Voelcker had a twenty-seven year career teaching photography at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, New Hampshire and still teaches at St. Anselm College 

She received her B.A. studying with Carl Chiarenza in art history from Boston University and went on to study photography with Lee Broman at the Museum of Fine Arts School in Boston and later with Nathan and Joan Lyons and Keith Smith at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York while acquiring an M.F.A. with a minor in history of photography through SUNY Buffalo. 


Her interest in documentary and portrait photography has always been evident. While in graduate school she produced a book, A Heritage, containing 36 photographs and text about the life of her grandfather, Henry G. Rogers. Despite the growth of digital photography, she has continued to practice traditional silver photography because of her love of the reflective quality of silver as well as its stability. Howevere, the lure of color has her practicing and teaching digital photography, as well. 


  • Currier Art Museum, Manchester, New Hampshire 
  • International Center for Photography, New York City, New  York. 
  • George Eastman House, Rochester,New York 
  • Peter Palmquist, Arcata, California 

Solo Exibitions

  • 2012 – Peterborough Art Academy & Gallery, Peterborough, NH Portraits of Flowers 
  • 2011 – Hancock Library Gallery, Coming Full Circle, Hancock,NH      Sharon Arts Gallery, Elsa Voelcker Photography, Peterborough, NH 
  • 2010 – Starving Artist Gallery, Keene, NH. Piercing Portraits, artist talk 

Selected Group Exhibitations and Publications

  • 2017 – Thorne-Sagendorf Gallery, Keene, New Hampshire, Biennial Regional Jurors’ Choice Competition 
  •  2016 – Great Bay Community College, Gateway Gallery, At Large, Portsmouth, New Hampshire– juried 
  • Townsend, Meetinghouse, In the BeginningTownsend, , juried. 
  • 2015 – Fitchburg Art Museum, Inner Ressonance, Fitchburg, Massachusetts 
  • Pease Public Library, WCA/NH Twenty Years: A Celebration, Plymouth, NH 
  • 2012 – Portrait of Howard Zinn published in,A Life on the Left

 My photographic work began almost four decades ago as I took images of family members at my grandfather’s summer camp.  I later embarked on putting together a book about my grandfather.  My black and white photography is documentary in nature and consists mostly of portraiture and weddings.  I have recently built myself a studio in which to have sittings though I also love to go on location for more candid shots.  My love is traditional gelatin silver photography. I use medium format film to get beautifully defined images that will last many generations, thousands of years. 


 In 2004, a friend suggested that I take portraits of people with piercings.  It was kind of a dare. He works in a piercing parlor and set up some sessions for me.  I have no man-made holes in my body nor do I ever intend to get any but, the experience of meeting all these marvelous people has changed my attitude towards people with piercings.  I found my curiosity peaked as to why people would want to get their body pierced. The popularity of piercings as decoration is a relatively new trend in this country and I plan to continue photographing and interviewing individuals as to why they got pierced. More recently I have included portraits of people with just tatoos also.  I keep taking portraits of differnet people to add to the series.  I am documenting a trend that will be identified with the beginning of the 21st century. 

I also do color portraits when requested and print inkjet prints. 



I also sell color blank greeting cards of flowers and nature at bookstores around the state. The color images shown here seem very different from my previous work of many beautiful flower images with a limited depth of field. These new images are wider landscapes with blur caused by panning a scene while in a moving car. The result is a less predictable and more abstract experience of what is being photographed.  It may signify my getting older and feeling like life is just whizzing by.