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Wim Wenders’s Evocative Landscape Photographs Are About People, Not Places

Wim Wenders, Forest in Brandenburg, 2014, Image courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, Forest in Brandenburg, 2014, Image courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, Dusk in Coober Pedy, 1978, Image courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, Dusk in Coober Pedy, 1978, Image courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

For German filmmaker and photographer Wim Wenders, a place—be it the site of the Berlin Wall or a small roadside graveyard—carries with it the marks of history, the footsteps of the people and the echoes of their voices. Time Capsules. By the side of the Road, Wenders’s ongoing solo show at Blain|Southern Berlin, includes large-scale panoramic vistas and smaller, more intimate visions of frozen moments mostly in Germany and America.

Audiences familiar with Wenders’s many cinematic masterpieces will recognize his love for traveling the open road through these landscapes, corners of the world can that can only be uncovered serendipitously while passing by on the way to some other, unknown destination. Though he is most beloved for his films, Wenders’s photography makes up a large portion of his body of work to date; he has loved the analogue craft since he was a small boy in Düsseldorf.

Time Capsules. By the side of the Road is composed mostly of recent work, and yet every image serves in some sense an elegy to things past. Here, we find an acknowledgement that these places pictured have formerly been something other than what they are now; in conversation with The Economist, Wenders notes that although people are never pictured in his photographs, each very much tells the story of those who once trod the same road.

By not including a human figure, he allows each of us to wholly occupy and navigate the space without any guide or companion to lead the way. While looking back to recent and not-so-recent history, the photographer also relegates the present moment—and the scene captured— to the world of memory time gone by. Many sites, he explains, have changed since its photographed was snapped, preserved and resurrected only in two dimensions.

Time Capsules. By the side of the road. Wim Wenders’ recent photographs is at Blain|Southern Berlin until 14 Nov 2015.

Wim Wenders, Drive-in at night, Montréal, Canada, 2013, Image courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, Drive-in at night, Montréal, Canada, 2013, Image courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, By the Side of the Road, 2015, Courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, By the Side of the Road, 2015, Courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, Contemplation, Denver, Colorado, 1982, Image courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, Contemplation, Denver, Colorado, 1982, Image courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, Cowboy Bar, Paris, Texas 2001, 2015, Courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, Cowboy Bar, Paris, Texas 2001, 2015, Courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, Drive-in, Marfa, Texas, 1983, Image courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, Drive-in, Marfa, Texas, 1983, Image courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, Potsdamer Platz with Weinhaus Huth, 1992, 2015 Courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, Potsdamer Platz with Weinhaus Huth, 1992, 2015 Courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, Potsdamer Platz, 1995, Image courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, Potsdamer Platz, 1995, Image courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, Roller Coaster, Montréal, Canada, 2013, Image courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, Roller Coaster, Montréal, Canada, 2013, Image courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, The Elbe River near Dömitz, 2014, Image courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, The Elbe River near Dömitz, 2014, Image courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, Mail boxes, Montana 1977, Courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, Mail boxes, Montana 1977, Courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, Four Drive-in Screens, Montreal, Canada, 2013, Image courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, Four Drive-in Screens, Montreal, Canada, 2013, Image courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, Landscape near Wittenberge, Germany, 2014, Image courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, Landscape near Wittenberge, Germany, 2014, Image courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, Twin graves and drive-in cinema, Marfa, Texas, 1983, Image Courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

Wim Wenders, Twin graves and drive-in cinema, Marfa, Texas, 1983, Image Courtesy the artist and BlainSouthern

All images © Wim Wenders

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