Thursday, April 2, 2009

Wim Wenders, "Meteorite Crater, West Australia"

Meteorite Crater, West Australia
Large Scale Aerial Photograph, 1988

Wim Wenders is known internationally as a film maker from Germany. By way of scouting via small aircraft for movie set locations for his films, his photographs of these sites eventually led to museum exhibits of his very large scale (typically over fifteen feet in length) aerial photography. A major photographic survey of his “Pictures from the Surface of the Earth” has toured museums world wide since 2001. Meteorite Crater was shot in West Australia on just such a scouting expedition. Difficult to reach by car, Meteorite Crater was on a map of Australia in a remote area west of Alice Springs. Wenders discovered the place on an aerial location survey, circled the enormous crater, landed on the dust strip next to it, and walked for an hour to get into the middle of the giant circle. Wenders claimed the aerial photograph documented the site as a meteorite crater. However, controversy surrounded the artist’s naming of the site. Apparently, the crater wasn’t created by a meteorite: it’s a naturally occurring bowl-shaped depression of land in the earth.

Ernst Wilhelm Wenders was born in Dusseldorf, Germany in 1945. Wenders studied medicine (1963-64), and philosophy (1964-65), before interrupting his academic studies to became a painter in 1966. By 1967 he was working as a film critic and producing several short films, and this continued until the 1980s. In 19882 he moved to New York and has since then become involved in producing and directly hundreds of films through various cinema companies. Two of his best known films are Wings of Desire and The Buena Vista Social Club. He currently lives in Los Angeles and Berlin with his wife, Donata, a photographer.

Quote by the artist: (from Wenders’ official website)
“Bigger is never better per se, nor more beautiful. But some of these landscapes and places that I photographed deserved nothing else but the biggest possible prints. I was limited by the size of the photo paper, otherwise, I would have gone even bigger. To understand these places, you have to immerse yourself in them.”

--Lois Smalley