Remembering through photographic reconstruction – the gas station pictures of Tim Hölscher
These days, they’re only rarely seen in this form: small buildings, a flat porch, a gas pump, entry and exit ramps, neon signs – each one in itself unique. Since the opening of the first gas station in 1927 in Hamburg, such has been the typical characteristics of gas station architecture in the international style. Nowadays every station looks the same: a brand is no longer promoted by the individual architectural style but rather by logos and colors. Tim Hölscher depicts how things used to be in his fascinating photo series on gas stations.
Born in 1981 in Soest in North-Rhine Westphalia, the photographer intensively examined the history of gas station buildings, taking an exciting journey to search for traces of this lost form of architecture: gas stations from the 1950s and 1960s. As architectural symbols, they embodied the wealth regained by the German Economic Miracle, as well as an intoxicating new mobility.
At times, Hölscher would travel more than 1000 kilometers a week searching for his rare findings. Often the stations were used for something other than their original purpose: as auto-mechanic shops or car dealerships, with the original architecture hidden under signs, neon logos, and new additions to the building. Tim Hölscher’s images are more than snapped photographic documentations: the real work, which can take up to 20 hours per image, begins at the computer. Extra signs and additions to the building are digitally removed, as the gas station is singled out and freed from the urban context. Tim Hölscher thus reveals the original vision of the architect in the old buildings, as well as the individuality of the buildings and the special charm that they possessed.
“In my images I walk the thin line between photography and painting,” he said, explaining his technique. Through this technique he reveals truly audacious designs like that of the CALTEX gas station in a piece titled “Hannover I,” whose ambitious roof construction made of pre-stressed concrete seems to flow out over the front drive, sweepingly extending outward as it narrows to a mere 20cm. Through extremely well-composed images, Tim Hölscher’s series documents an exciting time for this type of building, revealing a freed and courageous architecture.
|1981||Born in Soest, Germany|
|2004 - 2010||Studies in Photo Design at the College Bielefeld|
|Abroad e.g. in Albania, Guatemala, Syria, Togo, Sri Lanka and Tanzania|
|Lives and works in Bielefeld|
|Winner of the Canon Profifoto Förderpreis 10/2|
|Peisazhet e Shqiperise, Single Exhibition, Altes Rathaus, Bielefeld, Germany|
|Single Exhibition "ntoma" im Bürgerzentrum "Alter Schlachthof", Soest, Germany|
|Diplomausstellung an der Fachhochschule Bielefeld, Germany|
|Single Exhibition "Togo Visages" im Bürgerzentrum "Alter Schlachthof" in Soest, Germany|
|2010||Visual Gallery at Photokina, Group Exhibition, Collogne, Germany|
|2003||Group Exhibition "Perfect Faces" im Rathaus Bielefeld, Germany|