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.

It all came together in the color lab where I was printing negative images of the originally positive photographs (taken in daylight). When the first print came out of the machine, I was very surprised, and very excited. The apples hanging on their branches looked like planets on their orbits, surrounded by darkness. A certain universal silence was emanating from the print. This was exactly what I was looking for.

I wanted dark skies and I wanted a light source – as if a lonesome car passed by at night or as if  huge distant floodlights searched the silent earth. In such dark nights in unknown surroundings, alone in forests or on fields, one senses danger everywhere, even where there might not be any at all. One’s own fears, fantasies and imagination emerge from the inner dephts and act like amplifiers. External details are swallowed by the darkness, so all of a sudden one fundamentally depends on the auditory sense again. The darkness makes us highly alert as if every sound or shadow might speak directly to us.

The apple tree is charged with significance. It is the Tree of Knowledge; it stands for The Fall of Man. It stands for seduction and promises: magnificent ones, imploded ones, empty ones.

Here are apple trees in late fall, almost without leaves, but still with many 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. It reminds me of the fairytale: ‘Mother Holle’, where there is this tree covered with apples and the tree calls the girls attentionand shouts: “Shake me! Shake me! We apples are all ripe!” One girl listens and shakes the tree, the other girl passes by and ignores the (inner) call.

There are cranes here, that gather by the thousands and thousands in some villages in Brandenburg on their winter migration. I have  already done several series on birds, so I wanted to observe the gathering of these majestic birds. When cranes fly, the air is full of their calls. Even though you might barely see them in the dark, you still can hear them fly.