Tobias Ahlbrecht is a Level 5 BA (Hons) Photography student. Here’s what he has to say about his project “DECAY”.
I always had a high interest in the past of Germany, not as much about historical details but more about the influences that past had and still has on the people and society of Germany.
Some time after having my first contact with photography about ten years ago, my dad started something called Geocaching (a treasure hunt with a GPS, fairly unknown at the time). Through that leisure activity my dad, my brother and me discovered a lot of very interesting places around us to the point when we found the first abandoned places, mostly in the eastern part of Germany where the German Democratic Republik used to be.We all felt an instant love for these places, a passion for the beauty of decay; almost vanitas-like sceneries.
Over a period of roughly 5 years we went to hundreds of those abandoned places for the purpose of photographically documenting them but also, and for me even more important, to get a feeling for the stories these places have to tell, that cannot be found in any history books.
I noticed quickly that through going to locations like that I did not only discover them but also a part of myself. I realized that my camera did not only photography what was in front of it, but also behind it; I find myself in many of the images of that time.I might not have the most accurate historical knowledge of eastern Germany or the abandoned places but I feel like I have found myself, through mirroring myself in them; doubtlessly their beauty of decay has highly influenced the way I grew up.
Having made several thousand images for this “project” I am happy to present a small selection of them which have a very special meaning to me.