Tanks and container at a factory in Misburg, Hanover

Industrial Still Lifes at Misburg

June 5, 2017

by — Posted in shot on film

This time I report on a bike trip to the industrial sites of Hanover’s east. That evening I created a short series of what I call “industrial still lifes”. The photographs show urban landscapes as well as some details of the area.

Located at the eastern rim of Hanover, Misburg-Nord and Misburg-Süd are two quarters shaped by industrial activities. Especially the cement industry became important due to large deposits of marl. Four cement producing factories were built during the 1880s and 1890s. In addition, two large oil refineries were erected in the 1930s which later merged to “Deurag-Nerag” (short for “German Refinery Company and New Crude Oil Refinery Company”). The industry’s prosperity benefited by Misburg’s good transportation connection: a branch canal leads to the Mittelland Canal, which provides an east-west inland waterway connection. Furthermore, Misburg is linked to the east-west railway line and motorway.

For me, Misburg is ideally suited as a bike trip’s destination. It takes me roughly half an hour to get there and the route runs almost entirely through green environment. Using a bike also provides a great benefit once I have arrived there: I’m able to see a lot more places when travelling on bike compared to be on foot. The partially extensive distances between the different factories are no problem anymore. On the over hand, taking photos while riding a bike can sometimes be a little bit annoying. Often, that’s what happens: I am passing an interesting spot, e.g. a waste container standing at an inner yard. I see the container and slow down while thinking hard whether to stop and take a photo or move on. Even if I think at first “No, it’s not worth a photo”, I will finally stop and return. That’s why I occasionally have the feeling of making no headway.

A ship travelling westbound on the Mittelland Canal. This waterway provides an essential part of the link between the Benelux, France and Switzerland in the west and Poland, the Czech Republic as well as the Baltic Sea in the east.

For the image of this decommissioned excavator I had to point the lens through a mesh of the fence.

All images were shot on Kodak Portra film. I used my friend’s Leica MP which I recently borrowed. With exception of the first photograph (ship at the canal), I stuck to my 50mm lens. To create a sense of tranquility, I restricted myself to static objects (again with exception of the first photograph). When I am at the photography section of the library, I always find myself attracted to photo books which portray industrial landscapes in a calm and unpretentious manner. In my images, there are no humans visible. I also tried to exclude any hints whether a plants is still active or already abandoned. The shabbier a place appears, the more I like it.

At the eastern end of the branch canal, marl is loaded on to ships.
The white dust of the cement plants covers almost every surface in this area.

A tall concrete wall surrounds the site of the Teutonia cement plant. Graffiti artists have turned the wall into a canvas for their fanciful paintings.

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