The photos in Sunset show places where people tried to escape across the internal German border. The pictures, which come from the archives of the Stasi Records Agency (BStU), were taken by employees of the secret police, the police, and the border troops of the National People’s Army (NVA) from 1961 to 1989. They ranged from the surveillance of people and places and checks on border installations to the documentation of attempts to breach the border, whether successful or unsuccessful. The key consideration in selecting the photos was not the fate of the fugitives but rather the escape routes they chose.
As you leaf through the pages of the book, you move through a labyrinth that leads along tunnels and waterways, following arrow signs and cul-de-sacs, travelling in train compartments and through landscapes—a serpentine journey that intertwines historical testimony with individual imagination. For, beyond their historical context, the pictures are visual documents of an existential drive to escape: to the West, to the place that answers the longing for prosperity and freedom.
Sunset was edited by Spector Books in November 2018.