When I was a graduate student I lived next to the Kottenforst, a decent forest in the south-west of Bonn. While largely unremarkable by itself, it offered me the opportunity to try things, like getting pictures of the reflection of a full moon on a frozen pond.
The way to get there was partially paved and good enough for a safe bike ride at night. I had left my bike at the bridge that leads over the pond, and didn’t expect to see anybody.
While I was busy with tripod and macro lens, I heard a car approaching. This was not only unusual for the time of day (midnight), but also because the narrow road was not permitted for cars.
The car stopped, and police lights went on. They must have had their suspicions. I shouted at them from the far shore of the pond that I was just taking pictures of the moon. They left me alone.
Whenever I am stopped by the police these days (it doesn’t happen that often), I am tempted to use this excuse again.
The summer and fall 1992 I spent my free time reading Marcel Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu. That winter, I took the photos from this page, and revisiting them now is just one of several connections to Proust’s recherche.
Of course these were shot with film, and in black and white, appropriate for season and theme. The location is the Sieg valley near Bonn in Germany, where I happened to come across a temporarily abandoned construction site.
The time was literally frozen. Everything had been more or less orderly put ready to use.
This was a curious sight. Unless our daily business is construction, we usually do not see these things, because they are buried or covered up, in the hope that they will function even in hiding.
Not esthetics, but pure purpose is the reason for these designs. And because I did and do not know the actual purpose of them, they became for me the abstraction, the idea of purpose itself.
This tilting away from reality towards abstraction has always fascinated me, already (at least) 23 years ago.