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IntroductionHartwig Klappert sweeps along the forest edge
There is something fantastical and magical about winter forests. Bare treetops and dense pines appear frozen as ancient crystals. In the very coldest of the seasons, the photographer trudges across white fields of snow to capture them from afar with his camera. Hartwig Klappert discovers his “Forest Flags” running alongside the edges of woodland as sweeping rows of slender, fragile branches and roots.
Next to each other, hidden in the deep snow, lie the tree roots. They represent the fading beauty of Brandenburg’s nature. Forest edges lie silently in the morning light, braced by the sharp wind. Islands of trees gather around villages crouching in the snow. The viewer senses a gradual change along these boundaries, something gnaws at us, yet is careful to reveal too much.
An observer to these scenes, the photographer reveals a grey-bluish light, a colour of the sky that is unable to compete with the stark white of the snow and the horizontal lines. In the foreground we find isolated blemishes, straw stumps and timid bushes disturbing the snow cover.
These broad panoramas are beautifully composed, their stripes are like calligraphy painted on a role of paper. In a season that appears inhospitable, one we prefer to observe from the cosiness of a warm room, we gaze across a lightly frozen landscape. Yet time can hold this landscape frozen only for so long. The image gives us the courage to observe the changing of the seasons, to allow an apparently hostile winter to reveal her charms.
We long for either the green of Spring or the mixed colours of the Autumn leaves, traces of which still remain partly frozen, hanging from the branches. We enjoy the waiting, the anticipation, and yet we appreciate the stubborn beauty of the light we see, a light that reveals the magic of a season we associate with darkness.
Hartwig Klappert has captured these moments for us, wrenching the cold away from them and kindling in us a curiosity for their re-awakening, their blossoming. The result is a growing awareness of the cycle of nature, of our climate, and of our weather, something that be discovered in every region.
1947 Born in Siegen, Germany Studies of Graphic-Design at the Studies of Art (UdK) Berlin, Germany Art Director at the advertising agency Gruppe 96 1975 Freelance Photo-Designer 1994-1997 Visiting Professor at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Braunschweig, Germany