Pictures from the Surface of the Earth
Wim Wenders – filmmaker, writer, photographer and traveller – has for years carried round an old panoramic camera that has come in handy when the extent or impressive nature of experience is beyond normal measure. And with as passionate a keen-sighted person as Wenders, that is frequently the case: landscapes stretch into infinity, horizons divide the world into water, earth and air, deserts and mountain ranges are overwhelming in their emptiness and silence, street fronts, whether in Havana, Houston, Texas or Berlin, draw our gaze to the very depths of civilization, or to the abyss of horror and destruction as at Ground Zero shortly after September 11, 2001. Wenders has called his collection «Pictures from the Surface of the Earth» and is referring to images of a world that is created – and destroyed – by both nature and mankind, observed from a certain distance, and mostly empty. They include landscapes, views of cities, of architecture and nature in the USA, Japan, Australia, Israel, Cuba and Germany. They reveal not only the multi-faceted «surface of the earth», but also Wenders’ predominantly contemplative, sometimes perturbed, but always fascinated gaze. As such the book, now in its 3rd edition, is both: a portrait of the world as the photographer encountered it, and a portrait of the photographer as reflected in his view of the world.