Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Brothers Grimm's Homeland by Kilian Schönberger

Something a little different to inspire you in fairy tale territory today: photos from the actual lands the Grimm tales originated, or perhaps a better description would be "adopted home" since the origins for each of the tales aren't so easily pinned down.

This series of photos from Germany and surrounding areas are by talented landscape photographer Kilian Schönberger. He's clearly aware of the influences of these landscapes on the Grimm tales and, in turn, the influence of the tales on these places as well. He even titled this particular set of photos "Brothers Grimm's Homeland". Although they capture even more remote locations than are usually associated with various Grimm tales (along the, now popular, Fairy Tale Road) and lend themselves to the less populated and town centered stories, it's still easy to see how the fairy tales we know and love grew out of these places.

It's more than just dark tree trunks, a few mountains and heavy, lingering fog that makes for a fairy tale. Clearly this landscape has inspired stories for centuries. Perhaps the emphasis might have been more on danger then, rather than the magic we see today but the land distinctly inspires that as well.

It's also easy to see Mr. Schönberger has a deep love of forests. I don't know about you but I have sometimes found myself ins what seems to be a magical landscape, pulled out my camera and tried to capture that feeling of being there - with little success. My photos often feel flat and small compared to the atmosphere-filled places I took them unless the light is perfect (and I get super lucky). Schönberger, however, obviously has a talent for capturing images that come close to reflecting what it actually feels like to be in some places. The mystery, magic and foreboding are all here in every shot, as, it feels are any number of characters just outside the frame with stories that are both familiar and not.

Interestingly, Mr. Schönberger has a unique "magic" of his own. He is colorblind, something that is a challenge for a visual artist yet he manages to turn his "curse" into a blessing.
I think colour blindness (I can't distinguish green from red, magenta from grey, violet from blue and so on) can be an advantage especially in forest environments. I don't have to separate singular colours visually and can totally concentrate on the structure for a convincing image composition. Forests are always quite chaotic places - therefore I think the structures are more important for a pleasant result than the colours. (Schönberger from an interview with seamlessphoto)
While he does rely on feedback to make sure no colors within his shot disturb his composition, it would seem from his beautiful results that he's found a great way to work with his limitations and discover more in making his art than perhaps other photographers might.

As I was first putting together this post I initially wrote my impressions of tales that came to mind on viewing different images but realized the more I looked, the more tales resonated in my head, so I will let you see your own tales in each one instead. Perhaps you might even be inspired to tell your own.

Mr. Schönberger's main website  - with beautiful galleries of more magical places filled with tales and, conversely, landscapes fairy tales are full of - can be found HERE.


  1. Thank you for sharing these amazing photos. There is a deep sense of magic and wonder in forests which I felt so much more in the forests of Germany; these photos capture their essence beautifully.

  2. Jennifer D. BushroeJanuary 8, 2014 at 10:36 AM

    " feels are any number of characters just outside the frame with stories..." Yes! This is exactly what I was thinking as I looked at the pictures, each of which feels like a perfect 'Once upon a time...' setup and soon (a) character(s) is/are going to come 'onscreen' and start the action. I love these pictures.

  3. whoah! these pictures are awesome. talk about atmosphere :)