The sights of home

Bonn photographers depict their region

Bonn. Helmut Reinelt and Axel Thünker are photographers. They love depicting their home region. The new images by Reinelt are currently being exhibited at the valley station of the Drachenfelsbahn.

Stefan Lindauer from Oberstorf and Horst Götzl call themselves „home region photographer“ too. Lidauer celebrates Oberstorf and the surrounding area with almost dramatic, sometimes even dark and menacing and cloudy landscape images, reminding the observer of pictures of romanticism. Götzl rather catches „land and people“ in his new exhibition. „Sleepless“ is the title of one picture series, in which the landscapes get an unusual colouring and atmosphere in the dusk and during the night.

To capture the home region with a camera seems to be a basic need amongst amateurs as well as professional photographers.

Helmut Reinelt from Bad Honnef calls his new series of photographs „No man’s land“, the images are currently being exhibited in the valley station of the Drachenfelsbahn. He removes all man-made details from his usual surroundings, returns the landscape to a state of purity and originality - thus making it look rather strange. He digitally removed all traces of civilisation, and leaves behind only a landscape shaped by time (behind). Is this still a home region then? An interesting question which even Reinelt, who is highly fascinated by the visual experiment, cannot answer lightly.

„Where I feel at home“

„Home is the place where I belong, where I am from, where I feel at home“, says Reinelt. Different experiences played into this, he adds, he was born in Bonn, and grew up in the Siebengebirge and in Graurheindorf. He studied photography in Munich. „I managed to stay there for five years“, he recalls, „and I met many Cologne and Rhineland people in Bavaria - which was a little piece of home -  and I realised that I belong here in the Rhineland.“

So it was back to Ittenbach, since 1988 he lives in Bad Honnef. He travelled for various tv stations all over the world, considered living abroad. „But Bonn, the Siebengebirge, the Rhine, that’s my home.“ Here, he looks at the people and the nature with a „special eye“. „I try to retrieve something original: „What kind of a landscape is this, can it be compared to others?“ By reducing the landscape to its actual morphology, he gets closer to it and re-discovers it.

Axel Thünker impresses with fantastic images of the Rhine in and around Bonn, of the Siebengebirge and the Eifel area. His motivation: „First of all, to see my surroundings. His problem: He knows the region all too well. He was fascinated looking at the American west coast photography, was inspired by those images: „The photographers there have a lot more possibilities than in the Eifel or the Siebengebirge“, he explains. He went on a round trip through the United States to pursue this phenomena. And he had to admit that you can find more potential than here at the Rhine.

The first contact is important

But his photos of the Eifel and the Bonn region refute this: He discovered colours and formations, atmosphere, geological and topographic characteristics, found natural phenomena, bizarrely shaped stones and unspoilt vegetation.

The „first contact“, he says, is important, the immediate access. He had that in the States on the west coast - because he didn’t know the area. But his home region he knows too well. Still, finding something new in a well-known area is exciting. „I like the solitude, the nature, which a city person can discover there.“ His photos are not edited: „I only take images I would also take with an analog camera.“

His panoramic image of the Siebengebirge is four meters wide, which is hanging in the Siebengebirsmuseum in Königswinter as a giant slide - it was built together from 50 single images. „I only worked on the brightness and contrast“, he admitted six years ago when it was first exhibited.

„You have to be able to read the history of the landscape“, he says. „You have to spend time with it and in it.“ And with the expression of „home“, which has changed for him, says Thünker. „To me, this is a space in which my life takes place with all its facets, to where I can return to start over again and again.“ Home means feeling comfortable too.

(Original text: Thomas Kliemann / Translation: Mareike Graepel)