The Austrian photographer Gregor Sailer is known for taking analog images in both large (4 × 5″) and medium (6 × 9 cm) formats with a Sinar p2 view camera. He uses lenses with focal lengths of 65, 90, 150 and 210mm It makes for distinctive and eye-catching work and he uses this technique in his new photo book Unseen Places.
From inaccessible landscapes and sealed off territories to military restricted areas, these photos show surreal architectures on the fringes of human civilization. Typically, Sailer’s photos are deserted and the buildings look like sculptures. Whether it’s climate change, political conflicts or just an exaggerated need for security, Sailer’s images show the dynamics that lead to the existence of these haunted places.
This book, which follows on from previous volumes Closed Cities, The Potemkin Village and The Polar Silk Road, is a triumph of sheer determination. Gregor Sailer’s photos often require months of research and life under extreme conditions, such as e.g. B. persistent arctic temperatures of minus 50 degrees, in remote, inhospitable parts of the world.
In the accompanying text, Christoph Schaden describes Gregor’s approach. “Right from the start, his photographic working methods were characterized by concentrating and disorienting aesthetic strategies that, in combination with the gaze, know how to subtly amaze us. The human body is consistently left out, while the physique of the imaging technology remains the same: To this day, the photographer works exclusively with a professional analogue camera in large and medium format.
“You can feel it,” Christoph continues. “The robust architectural structures elude access. They remain strangely enraptured, yet eerily present. As a result, they weigh more on us viewers than can be comfortable. “Because things happen there that have an economic and social impact on us.”
Unseen Places was edited by Verena Kaspar-Eisert and contains texts by Verena Kaspar-Eisert and Christoph Schaden. It is available from Kehrer Verlag for €29.90. There is also an accompanying exhibition at the Kunst Haus Wien in Vienna until February 19.