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Photo of the Week #163

Peter Bialobrzeski

German hikers seen from a distance hiking in a nature preserve in Autumn.

Heimat 11, Fischbeker Heide, 2004


October 16, 2021

Fischbeker Heide, just south of Hamburg, is a German nature preserve situated between a forest and two motorways. Bialobrzeski notes that, while the area is a popular destination for residents of Hamburg wishing to experience nature, the landscape there is a result of cultivation. The photograph is part of Bialobrzeskis’ HEIMAT series, which mingles American Color Photography with German Romantic painting. 

Bialobrzeski regards his photographs as projections of a postmodernist yearning for nature. German Romantic painters like Caspar David Friedrich typically situated lone individuals within their sublime landscapes but Peter notes that "the silence is no longer the preserve of the solitary figure, there are always other people there, in red Gore-Tex jackets."

Bialobrzeski is interested in the way that photography can restore the Romantic sensibility to the landscape—while the presence of other people may break the stillness for hikers on the trails, the camera's remove can imbue the landscape with a contemplative aura for viewers of these photographs.