New York in Twilight
The latest series by photographers Horst and Daniel Zielske portrays a New York that is completely unreal. Just as they have done before in their Shanghai pictures, father and son began to capture their impressions of a global city through a series of breath-taking images. Rather than relying on the perspectives used in Asia, however, they developed their own, unique style for New York.
The pictures are rarely taken in daylight, shot instead at dawn or at night. Artificial light sources, however, are omnipresent: Street lamps, traffic lights, advertising boards, illuminated lettering, or spotlights on buildings and bridges. The scenes depicted appear almost like film sets – staged reality, illuminated by distracting lights.
Brooklyn Bridge and the East River are shown in twilight, glistening in silvery black & white thanks to artificial lighting. In the Bronx, New York is revealed to us in a subtle red tone through a street corner under the elevated train, with yellowy brown shades covering the view of Chelsea. Some images contain stronger colours, such as “New Yorker”, a shot of the building that is home to the magazine of the same name. The effect of this is a more realistic depiction of the city, which is then balanced by the pastel colours of the sky.
In these shades of light New York appears both antique and futuristic, a hybrid oscillating somewhere between a glorious past and an uncertain future.
"Nature is a petrified magical town..." the romantic poet Novalis once wrote. Horst (*1946) and Daniel (*1972) Zielske from Göttingen have been photographing together since 1993. Doesn’t it seem almost “romantic” – in a historical and artistic sense – when father and son go on a photographic journey through Germany? They have brought back photographs from the North Sea, Rügen, the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, and Eichsfeld – altogether encompassed under the title “German Symphony.” Their engaging intensity has also been directed towards chronicling the noise and novelty of today’s life.
As Westerners, how do we really understand what is going on in Shanghai, China? How should we comprehend the birth of a mega-city in such a sort span of time, we who still link urban development with notions like “Center”, “Downtown”, “Old Town”, “Piazza” or “Dome”? “Shanghai incorporates civilization in “fast motion”, phantasmagoria in steel and stone, the creation of a new city out of itself, constructed by one, two, three millions of migrant workers for fifteen, twenty, maybe thirty million people,” as German travel editor Jakob Strobel y Serra writes in the introduction to Zielske’s book with the Shanghai pictures.Perhaps we can guess what the people of Shanghai are living by listening to German composer’s Richard Strauss “Thus spoke Zarathustra”. In his symbolic interpretation of Nietzsche’s essay, Strauss lets us have a presentiment of the true dimensions of our existence. In the form of the famous enhancement, incorporating a sunrise, we feel the divine and the uncanny at the same time. Isn’t China the country where the sun rises? Yes, certainly, but if we follow the analogy to “Zarathustra”, we suddenly experience the dark and the light, desire and threat, lightness as well as the parallel existence of good and bad, the ever fractioning forces of nature and civilization.In more pragmatic words, father and son Zielske with their “camera-strokes” present to us an image of a Megalopolis; to westerners, the images relay the birth of a new economical mega-power. The Shanghai series shows us all the benefits, but also illuminates the price that such competitive growth brings to humans living daily life in this dream and nightmare.
Inspired by the English landscape painter William Turner (1775–1851), Horst and Daniel Zielske followed the Romantic visionary’s travels through eight European countries for four years. The work represents a continuation of their earlier work, the series German Symphony, which dealt intensively with the visual language of the German Romantics, in particular Caspar David Friedrich (1774–1840), whose haunting landscapes of the German Baltic Sea, the chalk cliffs of Rügen, and the Elbe Standstone Mountains continue to shape our image of the Romantic era.
Now, with the cycle Modern Turner, they turn their attention to one of Britain’s most famous painters. Tracking down the locations of his paintings, they look to find different, new perspectives on the cities, landscapes, and seascapes he captured in dramatic images. Today, these sometimes appear to the viewer changed through the additions of new buildings, streets, and means of transportation – but they develop their own singular allure through the Zielskes’ photographic view.
The father and son team oriented their 56 motifs on the “Master of Light”’s own perspective, simultaneously developing individual, location-specific tonalities of their own and thus representing a distinctive break with the paintings. In addition, they worked partially with analog and partially with digital technology, honing a contemporary visual language. The works of Modern Turner span the realms of documentary to the Romantic spirit of the nineteenth century. The Zielskes plan to cap the project, launched in 2007, with a presentation of their book.
|1946||Birth of Horst Zielske in Fehmarn, Germany|
|1972||Birth of son Daniel Zielske in Göttingen, Germany|
|1993||A father and son photography team with an emphasis on applied photography, as well as architectural, landscape, and commercial photography|
|1999-Present||Began work on the ongoing German Symphony series consisting of German landscapes and vedutas|
|1999||Image series Megalopolis Shanghai|
|2002-2006||World's End series in Dungeness, England|
|2004||Las Vegas Boulevard series|
|2007||Took photographs in eight countries including France, Italy, and Switzerland for their Modern Turner series|
|2007-2010||Worked on the series New York City|
|2013||They live in Göttingen, Germany|
|2008||Megalopolis Shanghai, Von Lintel Gallery, New York, USA|
|2006||Megalopolis Shangai, Two-persons show at Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg, Germany|
|The Spirit of England, Harenberg Edition, Dortmund, 1992|
|Wales, Harenberg Edition, Dortmund, 1992|
|Schottland, Harenberg Edition, Dortmund, 1993|
|Irland, Harenberg Edition, Dortmund, 1994|
|Zukunft im Revier - das Harenberg City-Center in Dortmund, Harenberg Edition, Dortmund, 1994|
|George Rickey - sieben Kinetische Skulpturen,(Exhibition catalogue), Harenberg Edition, Dortmund, 1994|
|Länder der Welt - Britische Inseln, Harenberg Edition, Dortmund, 1995|
|Dortmund - Porträt einer Stadt, Harenberg Edition, Dortmund, 1996|
|London, Harenberg Edition, Dortmund, 1996|
|Deutschland - ein Land auf dem Weg in das 21. Jahrhundert, Bertelsmann, Gütersloh, 1998|
|England - Streifzüge auf der Insel, Orbis Verlag, Munich, 1999|
|Irland - Zauber der grünen Insel, Orbis Verlag, Munich, 1999|
|Schottland - Land der Sagen, Orbis Verlag, Munich, 1999|
|London - Literarische Spaziergänge, insel Verlag, Frankfurt, 2000|
|Reise durch London, Verlagshaus Würzburg, Würzburg, 2000|
|Journey through Germany, Verlagshaus Würzburg, Würzburg, 2000|
|Frankfurts hohe Häuser, insel Verlag, Frankfurt, 2001|
|Häuser englischer Dichter, insel Verlag, Frankfurt, 2001|
|Deutschland, Verlagshaus Würzburg, Würzburg, 2002|
|Hundert Jahre Bauen in Westfalen, Harenberg Verlag, Dortmund, 2004|
|Deutschland, C. J. Bucher Verlag, Munich, 2006|
|Megalopolis Shanghai, (Exhibition catalogue), Edition Braus, Heidelberg, 2006|
|Shanghai 2, Verlag Wolfgang Kunth, Munich, 2009|
|Berlin, Verlag Wolfgang Kunth, Munich, 2009|
|DeutschlandBibliothek. Kirchen - Stätten der Kunst. Ein Kunstreiseführer,Knesebeck, Munich, 2010|
|DeutschlandBibliothek. Gärten und Parklandschaften. Ein Kunstreiseführer, Knesebeck, Munich, 2010|
|DeutschlandBibliothek. Kirchen - Stätten der Kunst. Ein Kunstreiseführer, Knesebeck, Munich, 2010|
|New York City, Verlag Wolfgang Kunth, Munich, 2012|
|London, Verlag Wolfgang Kunth, Munich, 2014|
|Published in international magazines such as GEO, Stern, Merian, and Spiegel, as well as in the field of corporate communications|