Chiara Raffo

The Wolfsschanze was the most famous and most-used Führer Haupt Quartier of Hitler, who spent a lot of time there to coordinate the troops during the invasion of Russia. Wolfsschanze is derived from “Wolf,” a self-adopted nickname of Hitler’s. The top-secret, high-security site was in the Masurian woods about eight kilometers east of the small town of Ketrzyn, Poland.

The 6.5 km-square complex, which was completed on June 21, 1941, consisted of three concentric security zones. The installations were served by a nearby airfield and railway lines. Buildings within the complex were camouflaged with bushes, grass and artificial trees planted on the flat roofs; netting was also erected between buildings and the surrounding forest so from the air the installation looked like unbroken dense woodland.

It was a hidden town in the woods consisting of 200 buildings: Hitler’s bunker was the largest object of the headquarters. It had six entrances from the north side. Its roof was 8.5 meters thick.

In October 1944 the Red Army reached the borders of East Prussia during the Baltic Offensive. Hitler departed from the Wolf’s Lair for the final time on November 20 when the Soviet advance reached Wegorzewo, only 15 kilometres away.

Two days later the order was given to destroy the complex. Despite the use of tons of explosives – one bunker required an estimated 8,000 kg of TNT – most of the buildings were only partially destroyed due to their immense size and reinforced structures. It took until 1955 to clear over 54,000 land mines that surrounded the installation.

Although the area was cleared of abandoned ordnance such as land mines following the war, the entire site was left to decay by Poland’s Communist government. However, since the Fall of Communism in the early 1990s, the Wolf’s Lair has been developed as a tourist attraction.

At first glance this might be a timeless place, only a lot of ruins. The series of images, on the contrary, far beyond documentary or historical research, force the human spectator to face the ruins through the tangle of the forest, gradually becoming more impenetrable and again “landlady.” The forest seems to create a barrier to the horrors of war and to rebuild its identity.    

— Chiara Raffo,

Happy Seventh Birthday!!

I am pleased to wish the New Landscape Photography blog a happy seventh birthday! It was a cold day in November 2010 that I made my first posts — starting with the excellent photographer Jeff Rich.

It’s been an exciting ride. I’ve been honored to publish the work of over 570 artists. I’ve enjoyed getting to know each one a little bit, as we communicated via email.

Over 440 people subscribe to the blog via email, and many more see my weekly posts in Facebook. I created a curated spin-off on Facebook in 2014, and our vibrant group now has over 3,500 members. We post images, give feedback and encouragement.

My delight in all these endeavors is about more than the numbers, of course. It’s the joy of communicating with other people who are passionate about landscape photography. We may not always agree, but we believe in the importance of working to explore and depict our environments.

I don’t share my own work on the blog, but today I’m making an exception, as it is particularly appropriate: it’s a picture that I made on November 19, 2010, the morning of the day that I began the blog.

Thanks so much, and keep up the good work!

— Willson Cummer, Syracuse, New York, USA

David Carter Lee

My work over the past couple of years has been an ongoing project called Factory-Trees. Through various photo series I’ve explored concepts like cohabitation and colonization through the roles and relationships of physical elements within our common environment. 

These particular images are from one of those series called The History of Towns and Cities which considers the role human structures play in creating the space of our daily lives. Originally a means of surface colonization, our built artifacts over time start to shed value, and in the process begin to take on their own trajectories. These structures together form our conception of place. Though familiar, often to the point of escaping notice, our places and the elements within them continuously evolve, much like the organisms living among them. 

With this perspective a photograph becomes, not a frozen moment separated from time, but rather a documentation of change: complex, alive, in a steady state of collective becoming. 

— David Carter Lee, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Dani Gherca

My project Traces of Fantasy is looking for present traces made by the ideological practices that underlay the development of the Romanian urban space during the communist era.

The state’s desire to transform the Romanian agrarian society into an industrial one, the depopulation of the villages and filling the new created cities with people, are the main instruments used by the government to concretize the utopian concept “The New Man.”

Architecture during the communist period becomes an instrument conditioned by the political discourse. The urbanization of the country had a very important role, because a community is much easier to control by the state if the people live in a city.

“The New Man” fantasy is based upon a projective model given that those who conceive it delineate it totally from the historical reality that they lived and which they considered damaged.

The belief that the equality between individuals must be primordial showed forth through the architectural equability. In this way were built the “bedroom neighborhoods.” The architecture became an instrument conditioned by political discourse.

— Dani Gherca, Bucharest, Romania

Dave Hebb

I’ve lived on and off in the Catskill Mountains for 25 years, and have been a homeowner several times over. However, the more experience I gain with land ownership, the less I understand it. I’ve witnessed my own relationship to the land shift from romantic reverence to selfish coveting to indifferent utility and have also observed the same complex contradictory feelings in my friends, family and neighbors.

By documenting the evolving landscape scenes from my everyday life, I am trying to reconcile my relationship to the land as I struggle to maintain a home and ecologically conscious lifestyle within a rural setting. The scenes I photograph are hidden in plain sight, often transient and easily dismissed, and yet in many ways they are the most concrete evidence of how changing behavior and attitudes, both individual and collective, can transform the landscape and shape our consciousness.

— Dave Hebb, Bearsville, New York

Martin Friedrich

These photographs are part of an on-going project entitled 295 Kilometers. From its source in the Karwendel range of the Alps to the mouth, the river Isar runs for 295 kilometers through Tyrol and Bavaria before reaching the Danube. While well known and appreciated for its recreational value, I set out to find and document the forgotten places, the hideouts and oddities along the river I grew up with.

— Martin Friedrich, Munich, Germany

Jessica Auer

My first morning in Iceland, I alternated between each of the seven windows of my studio apartment, craning my neck to look up the valley, down the fjord, up the mountain slopes and around all the other houses. It was 10am and the morning light maintained a dark deep blue. As the day carried on, the sun never broke the mountains, but circled around the peaks – gracing only the tops of the opposing ridges with direct light. I was told that the sun would only find the town again in February.
This series is an excerpt of my visual diary from January, 2015, my first month in Seydisfjördur, Iceland. I spent 28 consecutive days wandering on foot within the limits of the short daylight hours.

— Jessica Auer, Quebec & Iceland

Kinga Owczennikow

“The object to begin with is a window.”
— William Henry Fox Talbot, August 9, 1829

While being a wanderer by heart, as a photographer I am always drawn in by the sense of place as well as the space between myself and the sights which caught my attention at first. In this ongoing series, devoid of human figures, called Entities, I wish to combine the elements of recent, personal exploration of localities, the reoccurring motives, the underlying changes taking place in my life and the attempt to make a visual comment on our world and provoke fresh thoughts thereafter. I would like to convey the sense of both physical presence — the place and the psychological presence — the presence of the photographer, despite the fact of actual, visual absence.

— Kinga Owczennikow, Tirana, Albania

Willie Robb

Photographs of European passenger ferries arriving at the United Kingdom coastline form the project titled European Ferries. I wanted to respond to the recent decision Britain has made to leave the European Union.

Physically the images depict historical links connecting the UK to its current continent but that is subject to change. Metaphorically the photographs consider horizons and our divisive cultural attitude towards them. 

— Willie Robb, East Sussex, England

Stéphane Dupin

For this landscapes series, called Origins, I wanted to come back to my birth area and explore the notion of identity through different authentic places.

This is a kind of documentary work and a feeling to discover again this deep country with another view. I spent two months, alone, in order to understand this isolated rural area.

Wildness is of course really present, as rough as the local identity. I like to capture empty places, sometimes abandoned. It seems to me relevant to describe an “out of time” environment.

— Stéphane Dupin, Paris, France