Einmal (Once)

I had a lot of inspiration from the discussion we had in the short lived photo book club. We were talking about pictures in the Wim Wenders’ book “Einmal” (Once). Wenders is a famous movie director – I assume many of the photos were taken while scouting for moving locations. Main aspects for the selection are dilapidation, ruin and desertion. We were discussing aspects of the composition of the photos. Wenders is not afraid of empty spaces in his pictures. Many are structured by straight lines from roads, edges of buildings. Fragments of cars, buildings, rails or signs give hints to what is happening outside the obvious. Parts of the pictures are out of focus. Masts are included to give significance to disruptive elements, well known sights are disfigured by objects which normally do not show up in tourists shots.

I went into the most unattractive parts of town and tried to take pictures following these instructions. Each picture has a spot for the actors.


Anke’s picture f the Elbe tunnel in Hamburg reminded me that there is a similar facility in Rotterdam under the Maas and in Antwerp under the Schelde. Both were built around a hundred years ago and many of the original features are preserved. This is the one in Rotterdam. Presently, the old wooden elevators undergo a renovation. There are separate floors for cyclists and pedestrians

The building with the green cupola in the back is the north entrance

There are lifts, but most cyclists use the old moving stairs


Mining of black coal in Germany and the neighbouring countries involved underground mines with shafts as deep as kilometer. The enormous industrial plants for treatment of the coal and the big shunting yards for the coal trains were topped by the winding towers to bring up and down coal and materials. One of the biggest black coal mining areas was close to Aachen. Today all the mines are closed . The area still struggles with restructuring and finding new jobs formerly provided by the mines. In the town of Alsdorf, parts of the area of the big Zeche Anna has been transformed into a shopping area. It looks like an ironic attempt to show the now unemployed what they would be able to buy if they still had a job.