Baumbestand [Tree Population]

This work-in-progress relates to landscape showing evident traces of human intervention. In those locations visited, forest is always a crossbreed of plantation and natural growth. Some of the plantation projects are already centuries old, thus mistakenly perceived as “natural” by the visitor.
It is this unclear space of interpretation that I am interested in. In the course of direct climatic and economic changes, landscape is changing rapidly.
Therefore I aim to document this realm of “fabricated” surrogate nature now.

This series … captures the strained symmetry between the panoramic view of the photographer and the vertical rhythm of forests of trees; the repetitions being the result of ordered reforestation projects, a centuries old tradition in central Europe. []

The series features photographs made in Germany, Italy, Portugal, France, and the West Bank.

[1] At Torviscosa, an “ideal” fascist workers’ town in northern Italy (in the Bassa Friulana), trees are planted symmetrically in rows in small plantations of about one hundred square meters or more. This type of plantation is a modern idea in the very plain area and serves as protection against erosion and as a wind buffer. Going by car through the fields interspersed with these tree patterns one can observe oscillating vertical lines in the distance.

[2] At the Hohemark, situated north-west of Frankfurt, Germany, very close to the Limes (the old border of the Roman Empire) and once a big celtic settlement, trees have been planted in the course of various reforestation projects, apparently since the Middle Ages. The present shape of the area is also marked by former German Emperor Wilhelm II’s choice of plant species deemed exotic in his time. The trees in the images cannot be viewed when passing by car – their perfect linearity is experienced only from the well-kept sentinels.

[3] Sintra is a small town north of Lisbon, Portugal. It is famous for its haunting romantic gardens and castles. Lord Byron used to live there. The few mountains that surround it act as a climatic barrier and keep a lot of rain from descending to Lisbon. As a consequence, the gardens are a mixture of rainforest and some late 19th century landscape design. Looking at the wider region, this micro-landscape appears rather unexpected.

[4] The Großer Feldberg is in the same region as the Hohemark (Taunus hillside).

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