John Sandell photography
holocaustmemorial6.jpg
Out of Line

Out of Line. Another image from my on-going project based around the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas) in Berlin – usually referred to as the 'Holocaust Memorial' – this time from my second visit to it in June 2012. This 'field of stelae' – designed by American architect Peter Eisenman – is set on an undulating site about 100 metres south of the Brandenburg Gate. It opened in 2005 after a long and often controversial planning and building process. The 2,711 concrete blocks (stelae) are arranged in a regular grid over an area of nearly five acres. Each is around 8 feet long and 3 feet wide, but they vary in height from a few inches up to nearly 16 feet. At first the arrangement looks uniform, but closer inspection shows that each block is at a slight angle to its neighbour, creating a feeling of uncertainty.

Walking among the tall blocks at the centre feels disorientating and claustrophobic, despite a clear exit path: indeed, Eisenman has said that the stelae are designed to produce an uneasy, confusing atmosphere, and that "the whole sculpture aims to represent a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason". I wanted to photograph the memorial without the certainty and comfort and busyness of the modern world around it, so most of my images use a long lens to exclude surrounding streets. This time the weather was sunny, creating shadows of neighbouring blocks which merge together to make disturbing shapes.

Technical: NIKON D300, f=170.0 mm, ISO400, 1/400 sec @ f11.0

You are here: Home > Photography > Shapes > 'Out of Line'