Sunday, January 24, 2010

my weekend ... part three, a step back in history

Our drive home from Salzburg started out in snow & quickly turned to rain which put me in a grumpy mood. We were driving past Dachau on our way home & i wanted to stop but well rain doesn't make a sight seeing experience ... saying that i knew this wasn't exactly going to be a "sight-seeing" experience. Dachau is a place i have wanted to see for a while, & especially to photograph. I had this preconceived idea of producing a series of black & whites, grainy, emotional & well the sun shone & all my ideas went out the window.
The first thing you notice about Dachau is that it's smack bang wallop (that's a technical term by the way) in the middle of a residential area. I understand it probably wasn't there before but it's strange all the same.
We entered the camp through the "welcome" gate ... it's a sobering experience. The gate takes you from the "normal" back in history. It takes you to a time you could never image yourself & whilst i imagined a series of images conveying the emotions i felt, the quiet & the horror of what happened here the sun shone bright in the sky & the snow crisp & white caused it to bounce around all over the place. & the camp itself ... well it was simple & plain no bells & whistles but the exact opposite of what you see in your head.
We walked through the bunk rooms, saw the museum & learnt more about the history. I took photos of the things i was seeing not quite believing that what happened here happened in a place so empty & void of anything. This may not make sense but when you think of hell this isn't what you see. This was far from a 5 star hotel but in places it felt more like a wildeness camp.
There is one thing that stands out as you take in all that is Dachau ... the quiet. It's an erie quiet that comes from no nature sounds. It's the quiet of a place that has seen all the bad in life & still holds the emotional scars. It's the quiet of a place that will never be at peace with itself, it's lonely & still & has nothing left to offer the world but a learning experience. All you can do is walk away from Dachau hoping you never see let alone experience something similar to this in your life time.
So in my images the only thing i felt i could do was keep the feel through the series the same, the colours, my style & work with what i had to produce a set that i hope showed some of what Dachau was about.
& i plan to return to Dachau another day & produce the series of work i see in my mind. The moment we left Dachau the sun disappeared & the heavens opened & it rained the rest of the journey home.


  1. your words and photography are both so beautiful. you are very talented, laura, i hope you realize that! and i hope you get to photograph this place the way you imagine it; i love the idea you have your in head.

  2. i really can't get over how beautiful these pictures are! my favorites are the 3rd set down (the triptych), the 4th set down (the other triptych), and the 6th set down (the diptych). you capture places so well :)

  3. thanks for your wonderful words chica ... as an avid follower of both your blog & work i know you're an incredible talented woman. You photography is stunning & your writing fabulous! thanks again, means a lot.

  4. Beautiful documentation of such a sorrowful place. I visited Dachau about 5 years ago, and your images perfectly capture my memory of the experience. Really beautiful images!