The inspiration in this photo-set is not only the overall location Zeche Zollverein in Essen, Germany that was used as a Coal Mine Industrial Complex from 1851-1986, but also the newly constructed SANAA Gebäude (English: SANAA Building) with its original intent to be used as a place of education. Zollverein School houses its first exhibition, with 11 renowned photographers on show, including Bernd & Hilla Becher, Candida Höfer, Andreas Gursky and many others as part of the RuhrBlicke exhibition (previously covered by me HERE) that runs alongside the Ruhr.2010 Capital of Culture.
The following spread gives insight into surroundings of the building within Zeche Zollverein, the facade, interiors and selected photographs of the above mentioned exhibition.
Sadly, I have not been granted permission to take pictures within the building other than with my iPhone camera (which is fair enough really, seeing that Candida Höfer recently already has)
What's most interesting to me, is the fact that Candida Höfer took photos of the building and its interiors to exhibit within the SANAA Gebäude While it sounds like something that is hard to pull off, she really managed to make it work.
Went to shoot large format pictures in this location. My mother works here and I always found the fact that it's used by the current governments interesting. What's more, it's basically owned by the people of North Rhine-Westphalia, but no one ever goes let alone sees the inside. While I was shooting the images, there was a change in government, which meant that from one day to the next it wasn't the Ministerium für Generationen, Familie, Frauen und Integration (English: Ministry for Generations, Family, Women and Integration) anymore, but the Ministerium für Gesundheit, Emanzipation, Pflege und Alter (Ministry for Health, Emanzipation, Care and High Age)
The following pictures have been taken with my iPhone - hence don't portrait the aesthetics that I would normally try to achieve.
5x4 Large Format Pictures are currently being processed.
This photoshoot I'm super-excited about. While I came to Germany to shoot buildings that are owned by "the people" from inside - I didn't have much hope of being authorised to shoot in this particular object. For one was it undergoing intensive redevelopment at the time (€12.000.000) and secondly, I knew how hard it was to plumage through German bureaucracy.
Thankfully, I was put in touch with Mr Jens Michaels (Stadt Velbert) who seemed friendly enough at first and turned out to be an absolute star. Not only did I get access to the property, I was also let into areas that are normally hidden to people that visit this building (ie. the roof of the building)
The history of the building alone is an interesting one: When Langenberg was still independent, it was the city with the most millionaires in the region. With a population of only 5.000 people - the richest family, Colsmann, decided to give back and built this enormous building which was meant to go as a gift to the city for the people. Construction finished in the early 1900s and the building was consequently used as a theatre, cinema and leisure centre. The burden of the huge structure to the city is so interesting. There is no way, the city can heat, maintain and run a building of this magnitude. Yet, it hasn't fallen in the hands of private investors and remains one of the cultural cornerstones of Langenberg, hence to my life.
More information of the building (in German) you'll find HERE