Ironworks. Up!

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The ironworks shown here and in earlier posts are Völklinger Hütte (Völklingen Ironworks) in Saarland. Founded in 1873, they are now defunct. However the factory is now a World Heritage cultural site open to visitors.

Most of the pictures show details of the blast furnaces proper. More pictures taken on the top platform can be seen either here or in the Industrial Zone Gallery.

Walking the site felt like being in a strange yet exciting dream… I think that for anyone visiting Germany, these ironworks would counterpoint places like Heidelberg or Neuschwanstein very nicely.

Plato’s Cave Revisited. (Ironworks.)

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“I look and sometimes I see,” writes Siri Hustvedt. That could be a good start for a photographic process. When and if I see, I sometimes use my camera to report it. Occasionally the resulting photograph resembles what I saw (it is then a good photo in my eyes). And sometimes it succeeds in making those who look at it see something too: What do you see? I wonder.

Back on the Blog

Construction 2013-07Conversation instead of presentation: A couple of moths ago I thought I needed a home page. But I did not do much with it, and it did not do much for me – other than that the blog almost vanished in the background and I could not show more than one picture per post on the blog’s first page. All looked good to me, but as I realized I love the experiment, the dynamics and the exchange of opinions more than just presenting, I grew more and more dissatisfied. So: Dear readers, here is a new layout I hope you’ll enjoy.

The Dialectics of Decay (Frankfurt Bonames Airfield)

In her critique of photography Susan Sontag points out that photographers love to depict decay. She links this preference both to a nostalgic view of the world – Roland Barthes points into a similar direction when he says that a photo takes the form of Aorist – and to aestheticizing ‘unworthy’ objects. To her, photographing decay implies marking the decaying object as beautiful. As much as I agree with the link between a photo and the past,  I ask myself if there is not more to photographing decay.

If you roughly distinguish between nature and civilization, decay could be seen as nature (re-)claiming its reign. I am always delighted with finding traces of ‘the tooth of time’ in an urban setting (or on an abandoned army airfield) because they follow laws and principles which are alien to ours.

Photographing these traces superimposes yet another structure: an aesthetic idea. A picture of a decaying object thus accumulates various layers of principles, natural and human. Incompatible as functionality, erosion and the photographer’s own ideas may seem, they are all framed in the image of a decaying object.