Stalingrad?

Some photos have personal meaning. Meaning that is not obvious to others without further elaboration. Under the circumstances, lack of information can result in a welcomed interpretation. The following image has a personal meaning to me. The image was captured almost twenty years ago on a winter hike in Nördlinger Ries and marks the beginning of long and profound friendship.

Stalingrad? – Winter in Germany – View from a sleeping bag - Year 1993

Hiking and bivouac has a certain appeal during the winter. The snow dampens noise and you feel as if you are in an unknown world that is gently luring you in.

An overcast day, the small amount of light makes the landscape seem surreal. Every now and then a village pops up, not a soul on the streets. An off-road vehicle crosses the road, the wild boar under the bonnet, the twigs of juniper, shortly afterwards only a memory, dream like. A castle ruin in the forest. Trees like bony fingers in the snow. In the evening, long conversations, philosophise and dream. Paint a picture of what the future may have in store. Through a small crack, two eyes are watching, a dormouse listening to the stories being told in the dark. A storm at night. The nightly snowfall, the fierce thunder accompanying the storytelling. A storm sweeps through the forest and snow settles on the remains of dinner. The storm continues on in the distance, a last loud clap of thunder and the stillness that follows is just as dominant…

Only one the traveling companions is asleep, wrapped in his sleeping bag. The other companion is feeling cold in a sleeping bag that is too thin. The embers of the fire slowly become covered in white ash. Walking through the snow during the night, freezing cold, trying to find some relief. Back to the cold sleeping bag. In and out again several times, the snow crunching underfoot, shoe laces stuffed inside shoes. It is becoming increasingly colder. Winter nights are long. Sitting in front of dead ashes in a sleeping bag. Thoughts whirring, feeling cold, waiting for the morning…


Note
This image was captured with an analog Minolta X700 on Ilford b/w film from the tower of the castle ruin. It was developed in an improvised home laboratory and was printed on Ilford paper using a Meopta enlarger. I smuggled it from Prague to Germany years before in a VW bus, but that’s a different story.


The Nördlinger Ries, a 14.6 Mio.  Year old meteor impact crater with a diameter of about 23 kilometres has a certain charm about it.

 

 

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