Thursday, 19 June 2008

An encounter with the Sowjetisches Ehrenmal from the south-west firstly leads one through a large expanse of meadow, or indeed along the tree-covered earthy path that borders the meadow. In summer, most people cannot resist the large expanse of clover and rye grass adjacent to the path and so they venture out into the wide open space through one of the numerous breaks in the trees tightly packed lines. The land that the park occupies appears to be entirely flat, until the contours are observed as gentle slopes and lines accentuated by the irregular swathes of grass which darken and lighten as they dip and ascend over the gentle undulations beneath their roots. White clover heads abound, bobbing gently in that circular wind, a wind penned in on all sides by deciduous wooded sections interrupted only by occasional paths. A seclusion holds this place in memory, but in the actuality of being present within this meadow, one is all too mindful of the multiple traffic lanes that lie just beyond the meadow’s south and north sides, and one never entirely escapes this fact, nor indeed the presence of the overlooking Allianz tower with its remarkable tall blue parallels and blueish aspect holding fast against the approaching sky.

In the photographs of that particular time, one stands out alongside this memory, perhaps contributing to the peculiar clarity by which this instance can be remembered. It is a photograph of this meadow taken from such an angle that the wideness takes one’s breath slightly. The Allianz building naturally holds the immediate focus, slender and two-dimensional while the tree-line holds diagonal from a central left position moving towards the top right of the picture so that the uncustomarily tall trees on the right of the picture occupy twice as much space as the smaller, distant trees on the left. Grasses, patchy and varying in thickness, fill half of the frame with a summery green which then fades into more dominant streaks of parched light brown as the eye wanders upwards searching for depth at the edge of the trees where the meadow meets a darkness not recognised by the camera’s lens as anything but absence of light.

It is perhaps at this moment, where the viewer becomes aware of the darkness of the lower reaches of the tree trunks in opposition to the mottled silvers of the sky, that one would notice the woman. Perhaps she was evident immediately to those with a trained photographic eye as she occupies an area of the photograph that if intersectioned evenly twice vertically and twice horizontally would form the exact moment where the left hand line met the lower of the two horizontals. Perhaps the woman, the Allianz building and the lean, brown dog running with a punctured red ball in its mouth form a sort of trinity of referential images, each not seen without the other, all three part of a cognitive construct that only allows all three to be thought of with regards to each other, and so there is no first and last in respect of viewing this photograph (or indeed any other) but rather a narrative that, once formed, is impossible to forget or deny.