Photographer Gregor Sailer Captures Ghostly Images Of Hidden Areas No One Can Visit

Austrian photographer Gregor Sailer is known for capturing analog images in large (4 × 5″) and medium (6 × 9 cm) formats, using a Sinar p2 camera. He uses lenses with lengths 65, 90, 150 and 210mm focal lengths It’s distinctive and eye-catching work, and he puts the technique to good use in his new photobook, Unseen Places.

From inaccessible landscapes and cordoned off territories to restricted military zones, these photos show surreal architectures on the margins of human civilization. As a rule, photos of Sailer are deserted, the buildings on them look like sculptures. Whether it’s climate change, political conflict, or simply an excessive need for security, Sailer’s images reveal the dynamics that lead to the existence of these ghostly places.



EastGRIP I, Northeast Greenland Ice Sheet, Ice Core Project, 2019. From the series The Polar Silk Road © Gregor Sailer and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022

Military Installation V, Norwegian Armed Forces, Andøya, Norway, 2020. From the series The Polar Silk Road © Gregor Sailer and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022



Military Installation V, Norwegian Armed Forces, Andøya, Norway, 2020. From the series The Polar Silk Road © Gregor Sailer and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022

Shooting Complex in Urban Zone II, French Army, France, 2015. From the series Le Village Potemkine © Gregor Sailer and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022



Shooting Complex in Urban Zone II, French Army, France, 2015. From the series Le Village Potemkine © Gregor Sailer and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022

Untergrundbahn II, Bochum, Germany, 2005. From the Subraum series © Johannes Naumann, Stefan Tuschy © Gregor Sailer and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022



Untergrundbahn II, Bochum, Germany, 2005. From the Subraum series © Johannes Naumann, Stefan Tuschy © Gregor Sailer and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022

This book, which joins the previous volumes Closed Cities, The Potemkin Village and The Polar Silk Road, represents a triumph of sheer determination. Gregor Sailer’s photos often require months of research and living in extreme conditions, such as enduring arctic temperatures of minus 50 degrees, in remote and inhospitable parts of the world.

In the accompanying text, Christoph Schaden describes Gregor’s process. “From the outset, his method of photographic work is characterized by concentrated and disorienting strategies of aesthetic effects, which know how to discreetly intrigue us precisely in combination with the gaze. There, systematically, the human body is left aside; the physique of the technology that gives the image, on the other hand, persists: the photographer works exclusively with a professional film camera to date, in large and medium format.

Rabouni I, Westsahara / Algeria, 2010. From the series Closed Cities © Gregor Sailer and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022



Rabouni I, Westsahara / Algeria, 2010. From the series Closed Cities © Gregor Sailer and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022

Mine I, Chuquicamata, Chile, 2010. From the series Closed Cities © Gregor Sailer and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022



Mine I, Chuquicamata, Chile, 2010. From the series Closed Cities © Gregor Sailer and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022

Tiefort City VIII, Fort Irwin, US Army, Mojave Desert, California, USA, 2016. From the series The Potemkin Village © Gregor Sailer and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022



Tiefort City VIII, Fort Irwin, US Army, Mojave Desert, California, USA, 2016. From the series The Potemkin Village © Gregor Sailer and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022

Hafelekar bei Innsbruck, 2334 m, Karwendel, Austria, 2006. From the Ladiz series © Gregor Sailer and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022



Hafelekar bei Innsbruck, 2334 m, Karwendel, Austria, 2006. From the Ladiz series © Gregor Sailer and VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022

“We feel it,” continues Christoph. “The sturdy architectural structures elude access. They remain oddly enraptured and, nevertheless, oddly present. Thus, they weigh down on us, viewers, more than is comfortable.” Because things are happening there that have an economic and – social impact on us. »

Unseen Places was edited by Verena Kaspar-Eisert and includes text by Verena Kaspar-Eisert and Christoph Schaden. It is available for purchase from Kehrer Verlag for €29.90. There is also an accompanying exhibition at the Kunst Haus Wien in Vienna, until February 19.

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