You may be aware of Florian Reischauer from his very popular photo blog project Pieces of Berlin, which has been online since 2010 and seeks to document the city mostly through candid street portraits of its inhabitants. Hundreds of faces and places emerged from that project, of all kinds and in all manner of costume (if any at all), where we could see the photographer develop his craft through the simple act of getting involved with his surroundings.
In Reischauer’s new project Grüß Gott – a fairy tale we see the photographer hone these skills in a much more formal, constructed manner. The title of the series Grüß Gott, is a Bavarian/Austrian salutation roughly translating as “God greet you” or “praise God” which seems to hint at Reischauer’s friendly photographic methodology. Of course once we see the images in the series we understand straight away the location and culture before the lens from the red-roofed hamlet with Kirche, to the wide-open fields or brooding forests: this is the landscape that has produced fairy tales still in circulation today, cautionary tales and remnants from a Pagan past designed to warn of the dangers in the world beyond the front door, or indeed beyond the village.
The work deals with stereotypes, through the landscape primarily as it shifts and changes with the seasons – peaking with fields of golden corn and ending with frost laden grass. Breaking the utter silence of the landscape studies are static portraits of further stereotypes, the hunter with binoculars and hound, the pretty blonde maiden and an old serviceman, before finishing with an alter boy in white robes holding an incense burner as Christmas is expected.
Grüß Gott is clearly not a series made on a whim, we can see the thought and consideration that has resulted in this work. And Reischauer has successfully moved his practice on from the street level portraits to a more structured approach, where the people and their surroundings never seem to change, but time does – much like with fairy tales.
You can see more of Florian Reischauer’s work in SMBHmag ISSUE 4
All images ©Florian Reischauer