Places, Strange and Quiet
Wim Wenders' photography is as haunting and beautiful as his films.
Ever since seeing Wim Wenders' film Paris, Texas I have been on a mission to find a fuzzy jumper. All thanks to this scene, where a blonde-bobbed Nastassja Kinski appears in a booth wearing a perfect, pink, angora knit:
There's no doubt that Wenders has an eye for beautiful imagery. Though best known for his moving images (his evocative auteur films include The American Friend and Wings of Desire) he is also a masterful photographer. And, it seems, perpetually a nomad. That one of Wim Wenders's production companies is called 'Road Movies' is no casual moniker. As well as the fact that the central metaphor in nearly all his films is a lone figure on a journey, during a departure from his work as a director in the eighties he set out on a global photographic project. Equipped with a Plaubel Makina 6x7 and a Fuji 6x17 panoramic camera, his travels would last more than twenty years. Art mirrors life, or so they say.
Wenders' wanderings included sojourns in places as far flung as Germany, The United States, Japan, Australia, Israel and Cuba. His snaps capture everything from a lonely bench in Hiroshima to a Hopper-esque street corner in Butte, Montana, to tourists speckled precariously on the lip of Mount Etna. One of his most poignant images depicts an empty store front painted turquoise blue with a red trim. Bleeding off to the left of the image is a peach toned establishment, the window of which reads 'Entire Family' - the name of the image itself, 'Entire Family', Las Vegas, New Mexico (1983). Like 'Paris, Texas', the scene has a dual identity: Las Vegas, New Mexico, as well as the gambling town in Nevada. As Wenders writes, "When you travel a lot, and when you love to just wander around and get lost, you can end up in the strangest spots... it must be some sort of built-in radar that often directs me to places that are strangely quiet, or quietly strange."
Places, Strange and Quiet is the visual culmination of Wenders' travel photos and is full of the bleak landscapes, offbeat encounters and ghostly visions that typify his celluloid work. It's currently exhibiting at the Haunch of Vennison London.