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Christian Richter

Christian Richter, a photographer who grew up in Germany showcases an unusual fondness for irreversibly destroyed spaces.

Christian grew up in East Germany, around the time the Cold War began to dissolve across Eastern Europe. This liberating period saw the fall of the concrete fortified Berlin Wall, also called the Iron Curtain.

At a tender age of 14, Christian witnessed an era of despair through crumbling buildings, abandoned structures and a sudden migration.

With nothing left but abandoned buildings and a free will, Christian would make his way to abandoned these spaces and soon developed a fondness for derelict buildings.

It was only when a friend gifted him a digital camera that he began capturing the beauty he had subconsciously been seeing all these years. A self-taught photographer, Christian has visited and photographed over 1,000 buildings around Germany, Italy, Belgium and Poland over the last 8-years.

But Christian didn’t always find his way inside through doors. Often, he would climb through windows and tunnels to make his way through buildings and sometimes even walk long distances to a suggested location, only to find himself standing in front of a collapsed structure.

When asked what elements he looks for when shooting such spaces, Christian explains, “I do not try to express sadness in my work. When I see an old place in this state, I imagine its former glory. I believe these buildings have a soul.

At a Doctor’s surgery unit

At the surgery unit, he was surrounded by cobwebs and felt like he had gone back in time. He remembers looking through a beam of light that poured in and made for the perfect shot. He explained this as a rather mystical experience.

Christian has always enjoyed shooting abandoned buildings and moreover staircases. He says, “I’m always on the lookout for a great set of old stairs to photograph with the right lighting and shadows. A staircase can be one of the best parts of any abandoned building.”

“The very fact that the portrayals of abandoned buildings speak to us is that we somehow still feel the human presence within them. We sense that if only the walls could talk, there would be volumes of recorded conversations, tears and laughter", Christian explains.

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Showcase 06 Sep 2017

Photostories: CQ explains Christian Richter’s love for abandoned spaces and how it began

Born in East Germany, photographer Christian Richter began exploring abandoned buildings soon after the fall of the Berlin Wall. What began as an interest in shooting abandoned buildings around his turf soon developed into a profession that he remains passionate about till date. Today, he travels around Europe and continues to pursue photography of abandoned spaces with the hope of capturing a piece of their soul.

Christian Richter, a photographer who grew up in Germany showcases an unusual fondness for irreversibly destroyed spaces. When we first stumbled upon Christian’s Abandoned Spaces project, we realized that the photographer had been embracing decay with beauty. These abandoned buildings had fallen into oblivion and yet managed to narrate tales from the past.

Christian Richter

Christian Richter, a photographer who grew up in Germany showcases an unusual fondness for irreversibly destroyed spaces.

Why Abandoned Spaces?

Christian grew up in East Germany, around the time the Cold War began to dissolve across Eastern Europe. This liberating period saw the fall of the concrete fortified Berlin Wall, also called the Iron Curtain. At a tender age of 14, Christian witnessed an era of despair through crumbling buildings, abandoned structures and a sudden migration.

Christian grew up in East Germany, around the time the Cold War began to dissolve across Eastern Europe. This liberating period saw the fall of the concrete fortified Berlin Wall, also called the Iron Curtain.

At a tender age of 14, Christian witnessed an era of despair through crumbling buildings, abandoned structures and a sudden migration.

With nothing left but abandoned buildings and a free will, Christian would make his way to these spaces. It was only when a friend gifted him a digital camera that he began capturing the beauty he had subconsciously been seeing all these years.

With nothing left but abandoned buildings and a free will, Christian would make his way to abandoned these spaces and soon developed a fondness for derelict buildings.

It was only when a friend gifted him a digital camera that he began capturing the beauty he had subconsciously been seeing all these years. A self-taught photographer, Christian has visited and photographed over 1,000 buildings around Germany, Italy, Belgium and Poland over the last 8-years.

“The very fact that the portrayals of abandoned buildings speak to us is that we somehow still feel the human presence within them. We sense that if only the walls could talk, there would be volumes of recorded conversations, tears and laughter.”

About the Abandoned Spaces (abandon y opulence) Project

A self-taught photographer, Christian has visited and photographed over 1,000 buildings around Germany, Italy, Belgium and Poland over the last 8-years. With the effort to protect the abandoned spaces he photographs from possible vandalism, Richter keeps mum about the locations.

Spreading across chapels, factory shops, theatres and many others, Christian is supported by a network of friends who suggest new spaces to visit. He would often sneak into these buildings and even risk the chance of having them crumble down on him.

But Christian didn’t always find his way inside through doors. Often, he would climb through windows and tunnels to make his way through buildings and sometimes even walk long distances to a suggested location, only to find himself standing in front of a collapsed structure.

The project did not come easy. Christian would not always find his way through doors. He would often climb through windows and tunnels to make his way through buildings and sometimes even walk long distances to a suggested location, only to find himself standing in front of a collapsed structure. But on happy days when he receives a great tip-off, he finds himself with a lot of work.

Elaborating, he gave an example of a doctor’s surgery unit where he was surrounded by cobwebs and felt like he had gone back in time. He remembers looking through a beam of light that poured in and made for the perfect shot. He explained this as a rather mystical experience.

At a Doctor’s surgery unit

At the surgery unit, he was surrounded by cobwebs and felt like he had gone back in time. He remembers looking through a beam of light that poured in and made for the perfect shot. He explained this as a rather mystical experience.

“I do not try to express sadness in my work. When I see an old place in this state, I imagine its former glory. I believe these buildings have a soul. And when I photograph these places, I try to capture a piece of that soul.”

Not just an abandoned building....

Christian explains, “I do not try to express sadness in my work. When I see an old place in this state, I imagine its former glory. I believe these buildings have a soul. And when I photograph these places, I try to capture a piece of that soul and create a realistic picture about its decaying beauty in contrast with darkness and light while using the geometry of buildings, their shapes and lines, as natural boundaries.”

Through the years, architecture and elements such as colours, textures, geometry and the secrets these buildings hide have always fascinated him. Unlike us, he doesn’t look at these structures as graves or spooky spaces, instead if given a chance, he’d love to spend hours just walking through the old rooms and floors. For Christian, they’re secret histories, waiting to be read.

When asked what elements he looks for when shooting such spaces, Christian explains, “I do not try to express sadness in my work. When I see an old place in this state, I imagine its former glory. I believe these buildings have a soul.

His love for Abandoned Staircases

Christian has always enjoyed shooting abandoned buildings and moreover staircases. He says, “I’m always on the lookout for a great set of old stairs to photograph with the right lighting and shadows. A staircase can be one of the best parts of any abandoned building.”

Christian has always enjoyed shooting abandoned buildings and moreover staircases. He says, “I’m always on the lookout for a great set of old stairs to photograph with the right lighting and shadows. A staircase can be one of the best parts of any abandoned building.”

We thought it was interesting to look at abandoned buildings like Christian does. He explains, “The very fact that the portrayals of abandoned buildings speak to us is that we somehow still feel the human presence within them. We sense that if only the walls could talk, there would be volumes of recorded conversations, tears and laughter.”

“The very fact that the portrayals of abandoned buildings speak to us is that we somehow still feel the human presence within them. We sense that if only the walls could talk, there would be volumes of recorded conversations, tears and laughter", Christian explains.

Christian Richter works independently and funds his own projects. If you’d like to look through more of his work, click here.