Ferne Himmel. Goldene Zweige – Remote Skies. Golden Boughs

2009- 2010

20 x 25 cm, (8 x 10″)

The subtitle is a reference to Sir James George Frazer’s book ‘The Golden Bough’.

Most of the photographs were taken in the former German Democratic Republic.

Several thoughts or paths are brought together in this series. It all came together in the color lab where I was printing negative images of the originally positive photographs. When the first print came out of the machine, I was very surprised. It was as if this image was emanating a certain universal silence. The apples hanging on their branches looked like planets on their orbits, surrounded by darkness. That was exactly what I was looking for.

I wanted all the prints to be very dark. I wanted this contrast so it would be as if a lonesome car passed by at night with very strong spotlights or as if huge distant universal floodlights searched the silent earth. I wanted the prints to look as if they were taken during such a night, where one scents danger even though there might not be any so one’s own fear and imagination act like amplifiers. At night outer details are swallowed by darkness so all of a sudden one fundamentally depends on the auditory sense. The darkness makes one highly alert for it might speak to us. Therefore, I wanted the images to sound.

Here are these apple trees in late fall with almost no leaves left, but still with a lot of apples hanging on them. This always catches my attention. Fruits are there to be taken, to be eaten or to be used in one way or the other. It seems odd to me that they are of no use. In a certain way I’m always reminded of the fairy tale: ‘Mother Holle’, where there is this tree covered with apples and they call the girl’s attention by calling: “Shake me! Shake me! We apples are all ripe!”
The apple tree is loaded with significance. It is the Tree of Knowledge; it stands for The Fall of Man. It stands for seduction. It stands for all those promises: magnificent ones, imploded ones, empty ones.

There are cranes here, which on their winter migration to Spain gather by the thousands and thousands in some villages in Brandenburg. I already made several series on birds, so I really wanted to see the gathering of these majestic birds. I’m still amazed by the fact that migratory birds orientate themselves by the stars. When cranes fly, the air is full of their calls. Even though you might not see them in the darkness you still can hear them fly.

All over Brandenburg one can see these raised hides, which somehow make me feel uneasy. Due to their similarity to former watchtowers, they still have this aura of uncanny military observation hides, even though they are hides for hunters or ornithologists.