Hassan J. Richter was born in Arnstadt/Thüringen on 20th March 1969. After his Abitur, he became a road and traffic technology specialist, but he continuously also worked as a photographer. Since 2007, he has only been working as an artist photographer.
Hassan J. Richter strongly considers himself as a documentalist of deindustrialisation of the consequences and changing for this region. He traces its wounds and changes, and lifts the experiences of this local history metaphorically onto a higher level of human handling of successes and crises, ups and downs, values and superficialities of human existence.
Hassan J. Richter focuses on the topic of “decay and decline”. Decay is an image for the questionable way of how our modern society deals with its own history: It gives evidence of the fast- moving nature of today, its brittleness and the suppression processes, i.e. of the human unwillingness to establish and preserve a fair and critical view on history.
The places of decay, which Hassan J. Richter visits, tell stories of men that used to fill them with life, of habits and customs, of happiness and suffering, which used to shape the character of these places before their decline. The character is still vivid in this state of abandonment and shines in a magic glamour of past times. The artist manages to capture these unique moments with his photography and presents them in an artistically high and appealing quality.
The photos shown here were taken in East Germany (GDR) and Europe between 2007 and 2019.
The places where my pictures are taken have a magical appeal to me. Each trip I go on is a a discovery and also often a journey into the past. I feel the spirit of these places. I imagine the people who lived, worked, laughed and cried there, those who spent some of their daily lives together in these places. In the old buildings there are still traces of this collective life present, just as the feeling of abandonment spreads with every piece of crumbling plaster.
Today, there are regions around the world that are industrialized or already deindustrialized.
On my excursions I see how, the history decomposes along with the places. Often, the memories of the hard, long and desolate working days in the factories were simply to be wiped out as quickly as possible. There was and still is also a lack of political will to preserve these places as memories or to plan new beginnings. Essentially, the political, social and economic changes that have taken place are still visible in many places as ruins rather than as an improved, flourishing idea. Thus young people continue to be drawn away from this homeland in which they see no future prospects, no place in which they could live and work, laugh and cry.
I deliberately don't disclose where I find these motifs. They are now free flowing spaces. Places where something can be tried out, new things can arise. If these were to become too well-known then prospective customers and interested parties, ranging from scrap collectors to tourist groups to investors, would soon coalesce. These parties might develop the area in a way that restrict the opportunities for local communities including their own ideas and new beginnings. For instance an entrance fee is already being charged to visit some ruins today. This contradicts the character of these places, however. They unfold their magic and their charm in that they are not found in tour guides, but are searched for and discovered. Those who are interested in the history and the stories of such places will find them.
I visit the places several times. On each visit they appear in a different light and reveal new details and different moods.
The photos are taken with an analogue medium format camera or a plate camera (4x5 inch). Through analog photography I can create high quality prints, but above all, it requires a special approach. Each photo requires time and rest, in order to get myself into the places for the motif selection according to the respective light conditions. The basis for the intense colors of the images is a negative film (Kodak Ektar).