Being fascinated by the ambiguity of our relationships with the city — its artifacts, its tools, its morphology and its topography, I seek out the forgotten, neglected places and try to read their stories: sad, amusing, beautiful and often very quiet.
I discover silent dialogues in these locations. Dialogues between foreground and background, between objects and subjects, between past and present, and, in the case of Berlin, between East and West.
My work is about celebrating humanity without the confines of having to show human beings. By focusing on the elements that tell the stories of our past without any true indication of time or place, the viewer is able to experience a world that is open to his own personal experience and interpretation.
— Markus Lehr, Berlin, Germany
My series, titled High Desert Crossings, deals with the Mojave Desert. This region, referred to by locals as the “High Desert,” is marked by military use, mining and the aviation industry. In recent times, new housing developments have sprawled out here as well, beckoning brave commuters with the prospect of affordable homes beyond the periphery of the city.
I was interested in how this barren and remote space between the metropolitan areas of Los Angeles and Las Vegas is being used. And I was fascinated by looking at the traces that history left on this place – from the treks of the early settlers to the birthplace of Spaceship One – and their potential to tell us about the social geography and the state of mind of today’s America.
I do not use a strict documentary approach. Many of my images are subjectively-charged descriptions of places and situations. They become a projection screen for various representations, from our collective visual memory, of the American West.
— Markus Altmann, Berlin, Germany