»Less is a bore.«

Robert Venturi

Blog Lens

Focus on the Essential

The Work of Photographer Andreas Meichsner: part 1

  • Documenting the building process of the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus in Berlin. (All photos: Andreas Meichsner) 1 / 15  Documenting the building process of the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus in Berlin. (All photos: Andreas Meichsner)
  • 2 / 15
  • 3 / 15
  • 4 / 15
  • 5 / 15
  • 6 / 15
  • 7 / 15
  • 8 / 15
  • 9 / 15
  • 10 / 15
  • 11 / 15
  • 12 / 15
  • 13 / 15
  • 14 / 15
  • 15 / 15

Before turning to photography, Andreas Meichsner worked as a carpenter and studied architecture for three years. However, on observing his fellow students, he realised that he didn’t share the same enthusiasm for actually designing buildings. “I wanted to be as enthusiastic as them, but could only muster this when observing and analysing architecture. I came to a point when I had to admit that I was more interested in the effect of existing architecture than in designing it”, he recalls.

His architectural studies however have since fed into his work as a photographer, which uncube presents in two blog postings, starting this week with his long-term documentation of Berlin’s latest government building, the extension to the Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-House, which stretches across the river Spree alongside the Reichstag.

Commissioned by the German Government’s Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning, you began your documentation in 2011 and it’ll continue until the building’s scheduled completion in 2016. How much scope is there for creative freedom in such a project?

Actually a lot. Clearly my client requires a documentation of the building process at the end of it, so we meet frequently to coordinate our ideas and thoughts on how this documentation should proceed. However, they do leave me a lot of freedom regarding the decision of what’s interesting to document and how to do it. I visit the site about once a month, more or less spontaneously, looking at what’s currently going on. Since the site is in constant change, I have to react differently every time I’m there.

You are not only documenting the building, but also portraying the people who build it.

One tends to forget that even big buildings still have to be built largely by hand. Time and again I am impressed by the extent of this handcraft and skill – how many little steps are necessary to “grow” a building of this size.

Do you think this interest is partially down to your own training as a craftsman?

That might be true. It’s also planned to both use my images in a publication and exhibit some of them permanently in the building. Therefore it’s important to me, to not only document the making of the architecture, but also to show the many people who’ve built it with their own hands.

How important is it to your work as a photographer that you studied architecture for three years?

Very important. On the one hand I received architecture-related commissions at a very early stage of my career due to the contacts I’d made in my studies; and clients also seem to grant me a large amount of trust because of my education which allows for greater freedom in the work. On the other hand I think that my aesthetic perception of space was altered and evolved during my studies. I’m always trying to create calm and concentrated images in which the observer’s eye can focus on the essential; I think I’m doing this even when working on reportage or taking pictures of people. I guess that this really constitutes the essence of my photographic work.

Andreas Meichsner is a photographer based in Berlin.


Next week: one of Meichsner’s self-initiated projects, in which he looks at the constricted nature of contemporary urban space in Japan.

 

  • Facebook
  • Tumblr
  • Twitter

Advertisement

RECENT POSTS

more

Recent Magazines

25 Apr 2016

Magazine No. 43
Athens

  • essay

    From the Bottom and the Top

    Powering Athens through collectivity and informal initiatives by Cristina Ampatzidou

  • photo essay

    Nowhere Now Here

    A photo essay by Yiorgis Yerolymbos

  • Essay

    Back to the Garden

    Athens and opportunities for new urban strategies by Aristide Antonas

  • Interview

    Point Supreme

    An interview by Ellie Stathaki

>

03 Mar 2016

Magazine No. 42
Walk the Line

  • Essay

    The Line Connects

    An essay on drawing and architectural education by Wes Jones

  • Essay

    Drawing Attention

    Phineas Harper sketches out new narrative paths with pencil power

  • Essay

    Gotham

    Elvia Wilk on a city of shadows as architectural fiction

  • Interview

    The (Not So) Fine Line

    A conversation thread between Sophie Lovell and architecture cartoonist Klaus

>

28 Jan 2016

Magazine No. 41
Zvi Hecker

  • essay

    Space Packers

    Zvi Hecker’s career-defining partnership with Eldar Sharon and Alfred Neumann by Rafi Segal

  • Interview

    Essentially I am a Medieval Architect

    An interview with Zvi Hecker by Vladimir Belogolovsky

  • viewpoint

    The Technion Affair

    Breaking and entering in the name of architectural integrity by Zvi Hecker

  • Photo Essay

    Revisiting Yesterday’s Future

    A photo essay by Gili Merin

>

17 Dec 2015

Magazine No. 40
Iceland

  • Viewpoint

    Wish You Were Here

    Arna Mathiesen asks: Refinancing Iceland with tourism – but at what cost?

  • Photo Essay

    Spaces Create Bodies, Bodies Create Space

    An essay by Ólafur Elíasson

  • Focus

    Icelandic Domestic

    Focus on post-independence houses by George Kafka

  • Essay

    The Harp That Sang

    The saga of Reykjavík's Concert Hall by Sophie Lovell & Fiona Shipwright

>

more

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR MAILING LIST Close

Uncube is brandnew and wants to look good.
For best performance please update your browser.
Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer 10 (or higher), Safari, Chrome, Opera

×