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Images - Impressions of Ruins

Many of Seidenstücker’s pictures of ruins are based on the principles of aesthetic staging. Pieces of destroyed pillars, for example, are piled artistically, while ruins of buildings are reflected in water. These scenes evoke the antique ruins or the destroyed Gothic churches depicted in many nineteenth-century Romantic paintings. There, however, ruins were used to symbolize transience and human vanity. It is clear that Seidenstücker preferred photographing ruins that harkened back to antiquity, i.e, the ruins of buildings erected in the Classical style, most of which dated from the era of architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel (1761-1841) or the Wilhelmine Kaiserreich, circa 1880.

In addition to the effects of light and shadow, compositional elements assume an important role in Seidenstücker’s photographs. The careful construction of these works often allowed him to achieve a theatrical tension. In Boats on the Edge of the Lietzensee (1946), for example, he composed an idyllic foreground with trees and rowboats on a lake, only to shock the viewer with the bombed-out apartment houses in the background.

List of Images