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Photographer's Showcase: Michael Lange's FLUSS


photo-eye Gallery Photographer's Showcase: Michael Lange Last week we published a portfolio of images by Michael Lange, entitled WALD, on the Photographer's Showcase. This week we're pleased to announce the release of his new body of work, FLUSS. We've continued our conversation with Lange from last week and asked him about his new series and how it differs from the last body of work.

FLUSS R3498, 2012 by Michael Lange
26x37" – Edition of 6 – $4700

Last week we published a portfolio of images by Michael Lange, entitled WALD, on the Photographer's Showcase. This week we're pleased to announce the release of his new body of work, FLUSS. We've continued our conversation with Lange from last week and asked him about his new series and how it differs from the last body of work.


Erin Azouz:     FLUSS was photographed along the Rhine River in South Germany. Can you talk about your first experience of the Rhine and what inspired FLUSS?

FLUSS R2689
26x37" – Edition of 6 – $4700
Michael Lange:     I got my first impression on a grey, cold and dark December day and it was raining cats and dogs. A friend gave me a tour. He had managed the mosquito control in this area for over thirty years, so he really knew his way around. We were skidding on narrow muddy roads along the riverbanks and oxbows, onto small peninsulas and hiking into the wetlands.

I was instantly fascinated by the wild, jungle-like landscape. The lonely harshness of the almost rejecting winter nature attracted me strongly. I could see a deep beauty in the dripping colorlessness and dark desolation and I loved it from the very first moment. It was a perfect piece of art in its own, nothing missing.

After having worked for two and a half years in the German woods and mountains (on my previous project WALD) I was fascinated by the power of the river and how the water had formed the landscape. The raw and merciless power of the overflowing river revealed by the debris left on the banks made a strong impression on me.

FLUSS R7777
26x37" – Edition of 6 – $4700
Time seemed to have had no meaning, it must have looked the same way five hundred years ago. Nature was so dense, that even then on a December day with the leafless trees and bushes one couldn't see very far. The stillness was inescapable. It felt like a huge inviting nest.

On the other hand there is the wide and powerful straightened river, the channeled waterway of the Rhine, an Autobahn of barges. A man-made channnel, dug by hand, an engineering feat constructed 200 years ago.

The power of the fast running water in the channel is almost physical. It is dangerous, deep and impenetrable — unfathomable due to the swift flow and permanent flux of the surface with nothing to hold on to. It's like a call for hidden and subconscious feelings. These two different worlds, depending and coexisting partners, one wild and raw the other seemingly tamed — are what have kept me coming back.

FLUSS R4085, 2012 by Michael Lange
26x37" – Edition of 6 – $4700

EA:     What would you say is the difference or the progress from WALD to FLUSS?

ML:      I widened the boundaries I had set up in my mind, took more risks. My images got softer and more painterly. The water of the river was a challenge, its movement in contrast to the stillness of the trees and bushes. To allow the horizon into my images almost hurt, as up until that day my images did not show any sky whatsoever.

Workwise my single trips were longer, I gave myself more time at a stretch than I did with WALD. FLUSS was photographed predominantly at dawn, WALD mostly at dusk. I researched large parts of the area on a scouting journey, took pictures of the places of interest and marked them in the maps. I took notes so I would know where to return depending on the weather.


EA:      Whose work inspires you?

ML:      My hero is Richard Avedon, I just love his work, especially the American West. Robert Adams' work is important to me — the night walks are outstanding. When it comes to fellow contemporaries I am deeply drawn to Jim Goldberg. I am moved by his compassion and the collaboration with the people shown in the images. I admire his techniques and his use of different formats and films.

I marvel at work of Trevor Paglen. How he manages to photograph highly complicated things so beautifully is amazing. Paul Graham's work — his incredible depth of percetion — especially in his latest book The Present simply blows me away.

What all of them taught me is that it's worthwhile to follow an idea, to spend all the time, money and sweat to go through the inevitable ups and downs, to listen closely to the creative voices and protect them.

FLUSS R0825, 2012 by Michael Lange
26x37" – Edition of 6 – $4700

View Michael Lange's FLUSS portfolio
Read last week's interview with Michael Lange about WALD

For more information about Michael Lange's work or to purchase a photograph, please contact Erin Azouz at erin@photoeye.com or call 505-988-5152 ext. 202.

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