The Beelitz Sessions - Ulli Richter and Christoph Knoch

Derelict Fantasies

I still remember the first time I walked into an empty room of an abandoned block of flats back in my hometown. I must have been about twelve years old. Paint was peeling off the walls, there was a musty smell, and, in the dark corners, there was the ever-present feeling of life departed. And I was turned on! Of course, then I didn’t really interpret it like that but my fantasy was racing, conjuring up everything that could have, nay, must have happened there.

Some years went by, and, following my passion, I found myself studying photography in London – specialising in photojournalism, editorial portrait and architecture. The abstract shapes of modern and classic architecture alike have always fascinated me, but I could never quite escape the enduring appeal that fading beauty has for me, when something that once stood strong and proud to impress would finally have to surrender to the power of time, crumble and fall. In some major way this is also a reflection on our consuming obsession with eternal youth that, however hard we try, will forever remain unattainable; the hour glass slowly empties and the awareness of fragility and death puts everything into perspective.

During my college years I also realised that it was indeed okay