John Sandell photography


MEMORIAL is a thought-provoking photo book based on my images taken at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe (Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas) in Berlin, often called the 'Holocaust Memorial'. It is available print-to-order from Blurb, using high quality matt paper and with a dust jacket. First published May 2013, MEMORIAL features 30 semi-abstract monochrome images spread across 46 sensitively-designed pages, with a small amount of explanatory text.

'Memorial' front coverMEMORIAL

46 pages, size 10" x 8", Premium Matt paper.

This series of images expresses some thoughts and feelings on walking in and around the memorial, and of the history that it represents. The memorial consists of 2,711 concrete blocks arranged on a regular grid over an area of nearly five acres, on an uneven site around 100 metres south of the Brandenburg Gate. The arrangement appears uniform, but in fact each block leans slightly, creating a feeling of uncertainty – the memorial’s designer Peter Eisenman has said that “the whole sculpture aims to represent a supposedly ordered system that has lost touch with human reason”.

Blurb Books, £32.50.


A few of the images used in the book have appeared in the galleries here, as part of the ongoing project:
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From my travel diary:

July 2011. "To the Holocaust Memorial, the huge field of marble-like concrete blocks; evenly spaced and yet uneven, the outer blocks like graves. Walking among the tall ones in the centre felt oppressive and disorientating, despite the way out being clear. I spent about 45 minutes taking abstract photos, with the thought of some sort of photo essay in the back of my mind..."

May 2012: "I wanted to photograph the Memorial without the certainty and comfort and busyness of the modern world around it, so my images used a long lens to exclude the surrounding streets and other distractions. This time the weather was sunny, creating soft-edged shadows on the hard-edged blocks..."

January 2013. "The Memorial was thought-provoking, as always. Last time I was here the sun was strong. Now, fresh snow lay on the tops of the stelae and in the walkways between them, with almost no footprints. The sky was dull and grey, and new snow was blowing in from the east. I approached a fellow photographer with my best German and found he was American; I tried to keep the snow off my lens as we chatted. With 45 or so images in the camera I realised that one hand was completely numb from the cold, and I thought it would be sensible to move on. But it was tough to realise that the inmates of the camps had tried to survive in far lower temperatures than these, without the benefit of a down-filled coat or fleece gloves. I stuffed my gloved hands into my coat pockets and carried on down Ebertstraße to Potsdamer Platz to find a coffee..."

Blurb Books, £32.50.

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