In his Habitat series, Olaf Otto Becker (born 1959) presents idyllic dreamlike places—paradisical tableaus from the jungles of Malaysia and Indonesia. (Romantic floodplains, tree trunks slung with liana vines, niches for countless life forms—these are the untouched tropical rainforests of legend.) Even the temperate rainforest of Redwood National Parks in California seems reassuringly intact: the mammoth trees are surviving thanks to rigorous conservation measures. By contrast, in the second half of his series Becker shows what happens across the globe when international corporations clear large tracts of land and giant areas of barren, treeless terrain result. Erosion also does its work, and no life can survive in these places. In the final section, Becker presents the artificial "forests" conceived by various international architects to insert greenery into urban space.
Published by Hatje Cantz. Text by Petra Giloy-Hirtz.
For more than ten years, German photographer Olaf Otto Becker (born 1959) has trawled the Arctic and far northern regions with his large-format camera in search of primordial landscapes. Becker’s photographs attain the most sublime effects of which photography is capable, recording landscapes unscathed by human habitation, but very much affected by its consequences. Under the Nordic Light contains both new and previously published photographs of Iceland. “When I arrived in Iceland for the first time, I was deeply impressed by the Nordic light,” Becker told an interviewer. “The colors were largely subdued with subtle nuances, nearly black and white at first glance, but astonishingly colorful at second glance. These conditions enabled me to work with color like a painter.” This volume establishes Becker as the foremost chronicler of these wild landscapes.
Published by Hatje Cantz. Text by Dr. Konrad Steffen. Interview by Freddi Langer.
Following Broken Line, a prizewinning portrait of the coast of Greenland, Olaf Otto Becker (born in Travemünde, 1959) turns his attention to the interior of the island in his new series, Above Zero. Second only to Antarctica, Greenland has the largest inland ice surfaces in the world. Becker's spectacular portraits of this region are taken during physically strenuous, sometimes life-threatening treks among glacial crevasses and melting ice floes, with a cumbersome large-format camera. His photo studies draw out the overwhelming beauty of this icy landscape, while documenting their present fragility: dust and rust in the air form black, crusty deposits, which, in conjunction with global warming, accelerate the melting of the ice sheets--with what will probably be inevitable, catastrophic results. Becker warns that even in these uninhabited regions, human actions can have fatal consequences.
Published by Hatje Cantz. Text by Gerry Badger, Christoph Schaden.
Olaf Otto Becker, born in 1959, worked for almost four years and covered thousands of miles by boat creating these photographs of the coastline of Greenland. The resulting images, made in the clear light of the midsummer night over long exposures, are worth the effort. Almost shadowless neo-romantic dreamscapes, they are unrealistically beautiful. Becker sometimes waits days for the right image or condition to appear in order to produce a single image--a process that leaves him with only about 25 photographs per year. Though visually diverse, all of the pictures share the contemplative character of their creator. Becker, who was once a painter, doesn't photograph scenery: He builds compositions, using his eye and his patience to develop a work of melancholic beauty, in the powerful iconography of the nineteenth-century landscape. He has exhibited widely in Europe, and his previous monograph was short-listed for the Rencontres D'Arles Book Award.