“All closely observed worlds seem to be thinking themselves, remembering themselves, but few places are as close to their perfected postcard image as Switzerland is. This, after all, is one of the key places where nineteenth-century travel photography was developed. It is one of the cradles of the camera-mediated sublime. And so, to photograph Switzerland is to rephotograph it.”
Writer and photographer Teju Cole has been photographing Switzerland over a period of five years (beginning with a residency in Zürich in 2014). In Fernweh (a German word for the feeling of “longing to travel far away”), Cole’s meditative, humorous (but punchline-free) color photographs re-imagine and re-see a country whose visual character has been strongly defined and curated through tourist experiences and outside interpretations.
Cole’s images capture a serenity, calm and melancholy typical of Switzerland; despite the almost total absence of people in his photographs, the images trace human presence.
“But [Switzerland] is also a magical world, a world within a world, as calm as something enclosed in amber. Except amber is exactly what this isn’t: this is alive and flickering with the traces of ongoing human labor. The light is clear, frank, bright and inexpressive, a paradoxically mysterious clarity.” (both quotes are excerpts from Teju Cole’s afterword)
Please also see Teju Cole’s interview about “Fernweh” in Granta magazine.
- Book Size
- 310 × 210 mm
- 220 pages
- Publication Year