For his latest project, Henrik Spohler traveled to the Netherlands on five extended trips in 2020/21, totaling 7,500 km. On these journeys he looked at this country in the heart of Western Europe from the perspective of an outsider. Flatlands is a photographic examination of landscape in the very country, where the genre of landscape painting was developed in the seventeenth century. Today, the Netherlands is the most densely populated country in Europe, crisscrossed by a complex network of roads, canals and railroads. Seemingly endless industrial parks along the traffic routes characterize the landscape and indicate economic prosperity. Every square meter of land is used, every cubic meter of water is integrated into a system of dams, locks, and canals. The country, once considered hard-to-inhabit marshland, now symbolizes the radical transformation of the environment by man. Spohler and his images demonstrate how a cultural landscape, marked by complex historical, economic and social references, can be read and represented.
Henrik Spohler (*1965) studied at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen and has been working as a freelance photographer since 1992. His award-winning work is part of public and private collections and has been shown both nationally and internationally in numerous solo and group exhibitions. Flatlands is his sixth book. Henrik Spohler is a professor of photography at the Berlin University of Applied Sciences.