Asked by DXO Labs on their Fb page to give some more informations about "Ages of Life - N°2, I made the following reply, explaining the whole story behind this photo and more generally about my photography work:
The « Ages of Life » ("Lebensalter") fountain is a monumental work of art which settles on the Wittenberg Place not for from famous KaDeWe department store.
Two main things interested me in this sculpture/fountain.
- The first one was not, for sure, the global architecture of the fountain which is, in its shape, like an heavy and « almost » hideous mushroom made of granite and bronze standing in the meddle of a basin with no grace, in a very post-second world war Germanic style .
It was much more because of the fact the German sculptor Waldemar Grzimek was commissioned in 1981 to design the fountain (with the architects Wolfgang Schuster, Hartmut Bonk, Fee Franck and Christian Höpfner).
Unfortunately Waldemar Grzimek died in 1984 before the fountain was erected. Meanwhile he got enough time to design almost all of the 12 bronze figures composing the scene. And precisely those sculptures make the whole interest of the fountain.
I was, of course, interested to see and shoot this fountain because of the recognized talent of the artist, but even more because of his biography and the evolution of his art through time and with the political upheavals of his country during the 20th century.
He has been a witness of his century turpitude.
Born at the end of the first world war , he made his studies during A. Hitler’s ascent and his seizure of power over Germany. Requisitioned in the German Navy during the second world war, he, then, had to live with the painful separation of both Germanies.
He taught arts, has been a freelance artist and died in the west Berlin before he could see the wall down.
Beginning as an animal sculptor whose work could not conflict with the dictatorship and the political censorship, he moved to expressionism in which melancholy and a certain disillusionment about the human nature slowly settled. As any German he had to face the horrifying reality of holocaust, as an artist he had to express his sensibility especially when he was commissioned for the memorials of Sachsenhausen and Buchenwald concentration camps. He won several prizes and one can see many of his sculptures all through Germany.
- The second one and the most important fact to me was that the “Ages of Life” fountain is the very last realization of Waldemar Grzimek in his life.
So, it appears like an achievement.
The theme of “Ages of life” takes its whole meaning for a man who is going to die.
This is what I wanted to catch through my camera .
The question of life passing by: birth, youth, insouciance, pleasure, life, glory, gold age, doubts, decline, old age, death.
Each of those steps are into the “Ages of Life”.
And a recurrent question is asked by the sculptor in special work: Can we stay young and jaunty, what ever happens, when the over strength of Nature dominate humanity?
In the sculpture “Ages of life”, the heavy concrete roof is like an implacable force which crushes the figures. It symbolizes the oppression of Time.
Then the fact that “Ages of life” is also a fountain is not a fortuitous coincidence.
Water is purification. Water is rejuvenating source.
This is what I wanted to depict into my photo serial: “Ages of Life”.
This "Ages of Life" serial has been shot at different hours of the day and night.
At that time I used a Canon 7D with a canon lens EFS 15-85. Now, I am mainly working with a Nikon D800e and various great lenses.