1 PHOTOGRAPHER: TIM VAN DE VELDE
BY HUGO OLIVEIRA
HO: When and where was this photograph taken?
TV: The photo is one of the Brüder Klaus Field Chapel in Mechernich-Wachendorf, in Germany.
HO: When was it taken?
TV: In March 15th 2013m at 14h15, but for me that is not that relevant.
HO: What were the conditions there on site?
TV: Although it was already late in the year, the weather conditions were exceptional. There was still snow at that time of the year which does not happen every year, by far. The weather was very capricious that day. At one time you had sun but five minutes later cold windy fog could pass by and snow showers were pinning like needles in your face.
HO: How did you get to the site?
TV: I went to the site on my own hunch. I had been thinking about photographing it for a while just for myself, but when I woke up that day I saw that a big amount of snow had fallen again and weather was open in Brussels. So I decided to get in my car and make the drive to the Chapel. As an architectural photographer you can be drawn to a building and for the Chapel this was certainly the case. The chapel had been photographed before, but I hadn't seen any photos of it in the snow. For me it was a necessity that my photographs were shot with snow. It gives the chapel a more isolated character.
HO: Had you been there before?
TV: No, it was a first time for me. Often I like to photograph sites the first time I get there. I like to take the time then to discover the building and start shooting it during a day while the building little by little reveals itself.
HO: What do you find most interesting about this photo?
TV: I like the fact that it is a quite straight forward shot of the path under the snow that leads to the chapel surrounded by snow. But it works. Often the simplest of shots work the best. I like the correlation between the environment and the chapel. The open door intrigues somewhat mysteriously but draws you inside. The fence on the left only gives you that option to go to the Chapel. In the back you see the environment of the hills and woods.
HO: Is there any peculiar story about this shooting?
TV: Although the chapel is somewhat isolated outside a village, it is a place of religious prayer and architecturally interested. So people pass by often and enter of course. For this shot I had to get it on the right time, which meant waiting. Here, although the place looks abandoned a person had just entered the chapel for prayer.
HO: Was there something you wanted to communicate through it?
TV: For me architectural photography is often a solitary experience. You work alone and try to grasp the right shots by discovering the building. On this location, where you have to make an effort to get to the chapel with your gear and the totality of weather conditions and the religious character of the chapel made this experience more intense. To me this image has this feeling in it. It was a sort of architectural pilgrimage.
Tim van de Velde is an architectural photographer based in Brussels.
The image and interview selected are part of the editorial project "1 Photo(grapher)".