Friday, April 11, 2014

Why Kolmanskop?

- Alpa STC, IQ 180, 23 HR, ~f/13, 4s, ISO 35
We have wrapped up our day of photographing the Namibian ghost town of Kolmanskop and tomorrow we say goodbye to L├╝deritz and make our way to Sossusvlei, the area of gigantic red sand dunes.  But first, why Kolmanskop?  Why come to the middle of nowhere to photograph a ghost town, after all ghost towns exist in many places.

In the time I've spent here I think I've started to understand why and its a combination of several things.  The most obvious of course is that the desert is slowly taking this place over and there is something so appealing about making images with and decaying structures.  One thing I noticed about Kolmanskop was the quality of the construction.  These people had money and they spent it in building well constructed buildings.  They even had electricity here when much of the world was still lit with gas lamps and had the first x-ray machine in southern Africa in the hospital.  Then within about 45 years the town was abandoned.  What makes Kolmanskop special is the money they spent in the construction, the fancy wallpaper, the hand painted edging on the walls and the bright colors.  This combined with the desert reclaiming the town is what IMO makes this place appealing to many types of photographers.
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