Imagine your favorite Disney movie, stripped of the happy fairytale ending. The original stories, as written by the Brothers Grimm in the 18th Century, told of a more dark, and sinister, nature. A mixture of culture, environment, and primal human emotions, the fairytales were inspired by Central Europe's rich folklore history and dream-like environs. Landscapes lush with dense and dark forests, misty hilltops, and abandoned buildings. Forelorn structures aged by time and neglect. Nature at its most primitive, and most beautiful.
Ever wonder how such fairytales would look in real life? Introducing photographer Kilian Schönberger, whose pictures capture the chilling, and often foreboding, essence of the Brothers Grimm. Shot in remote and rural locals throughout Germany, the Czech Republic, Luxembourg, and Austria, one easily imagines the likes of Little Red Riding Hood cautiously moving among the stark landscapes.
His photography is deliberate and calculating. Maximum impact is realized by monitoring such details as the weather forecast.
“Fog is an essential ingredient for the otherworldly look I am searching for,” Schönberger says. “I would say I have ‘mastered’ my personal ‘fog forecast’ abilities, but it’s still more often than not a game of pure chance whether the fog has the right density or not. Sometimes it lasts years until you’ll get the desired conditions.”
His first foray produced Brothers Grimm Homeland, followed by Brothers Grimm Wanderings. The results are an arrestingly beautiful look at seemingly long-forgotten (and untouched) places.
"I'm searching places throughout Central Europe that echo the mood of those old stories. I think there is a deep longing for tranquil naturalness among people in our techonology-driven environment. Therefore I don't want to show just potrayals of natural scenes - I want to create visually accessible places where the visitor can virtually put his mind at rest and make up his own stories. Possibly this is the real benefit of my work: Resting places for the eyes in an visually overstimulated world."
A resting place born out of mother nature and an escape so needed in today's overstimulated world. Here's to the raw beauty of Kilian Schönberger. And, to the vivid creations of the Brothers Grimm. May they last for generations to come.