John Williams (aka Murray Maffra)

The urban conglomeration is of particular interest to me as a photographic subject. The intertwining of transport, utility, domestic, business and industrial infrastructure produces a rich, or sometimes bleak, visual environment. The remnants of earlier enterprise and now-redundant technology often remain in the urban environment, sometimes on a massive scale. This is the case with the gasometer, once ubiquitous in British cities.

The gasometer was a local gas storage device which consisted of a set of open-bottomed telescoping tanks sitting on a water seal and as gas flowed in from the gas works filling the tanks they would rise up guided by the surrounding frame. Many gasometers have been demolished since the creation of a national grid for gas storage and distribution, but some have stood firm to loom over the urban landscape.

The gas tanks no longer rise up inside the guiding structure, but stay submerged, invisible in the ground and empty of gas. These skeletons from a different era can be seen gathered in groups or alone on the metropolitan horizon. Or, viewed from between the buildings of a narrow street, reveal a segment of a silent sentinel towering over the homes, shops and pubs of the local community. I am happy that some of these are still a feature of the urban landscape.

— John Williams (aka Murray Maffra), The Hague, The Netherlands

William Mark Sommer

All The Time In The World

As our childhood memories slip we navigate into this new world of adulthood. We transition into this new unfamiliar phase, a completely different landscape of thought. This metaphorical landscape of youth expression transforms our lives, but we can never pin down their meanings until they already passed. We create myths of our own past to comprehend these fleeting moments that never came back us. As time goes on we return to these places of our youth only to recognize that it is not the same, just a forgotten memory of what used to be, what used to be ourselves.

These fleeting moments of life have always troubled me. They are incredibly powerful to us at the time of living it, just to be unrelentingly forgotten later. All The Time In The World came out of my need to capturing these moments of youth as a way to live within them forever. These photos depict some of my closest memories from finding first love, road tripping around California to enjoying the slow days cliff jumping with friends. These universal interactions between us no matter how forgettable make us into who we are.

— William Mark Sommer, Sacramento, California

Gerrit Elshof

Good Morning, Grünwald

Grünwald is a community on the outskirts of Munich. In Germany, Munich is known for its high rents and real estate prices. Grünwald is known in Munich as one of the most expensive parts of the region.

I am fascinated by many photo volumes from the United States, like Stephen Shore’s Uncommon Places, Alec Soth’s picture series, Mark Power’s Good Morning, America, Peter van Agtmael’s Buzzing at the Sill. They are pictures of landscapes marked by social differences. 

For me, the edgelands of the cities are one of the most exciting regions, marked by the transition between a narrow city and wide landscapes, marked by new construction and the simultaneous decay of old structures. The edgelands are a region of transition.

Grünwald is on the edge. It is the southernmost, last tram station in the Munich transport system. The city is characterised by villas, large properties and many expensive cars on the streets. Walking through Grünwald, I thought of a quote from Gandhi: “The world has enough for everybody’s needs, but not for everybody’s greed.”

Many stand-alone houses stand on properties of more than 2,000 square meters. High fences enclose the properties and protect them from envious looks. Many garages are the only part of the building that looks out.

Here, poverty does not lead to social exclusion and loneliness, but wealth leads to social isolation and consequently also loneliness. While in downtown Munich the pupils go to the streets for “Fridays for Future”, here every villa stands for an ecological footprint as big as that of an extinct dinosaur.

If this is the goal of life in our society, then the future looks dark.

— Gerrit Elshof, Münster, Germany