German photographer Franz Grünewald recently spent time in Tunisia, a country shaped by its varied history of diverse cultural currents. There he photographed the wide, untouched landscapes like the edge of the Sahara desert, the vastness of which made a lasting impression.
Grünewald’s body of work has a documentary feel to it, whilst at the same time is very considered—particularly the form and composition of his paired images. When asked what aspect of the moment stops and prompts him to frame the shot, Grünewald explains that how he works on location is greatly shaped by classic documentary photography. “I’m interested in traces of everyday life, like temporary constructions, objects left on the street, signs and written text”, the photographer tells iGNANT. “I also find myself drawn to the very obvious, which has a specific charm to me. Framing is really important for my work as I try to use it to break the classic documentary style with abstraction”. This, he continues, and the composition of paired images, “Creates new coherences and associations”.
Tunisia is not just a highly frequented destination for tourists seeking package deals and ritzy hotels. With an array of traditions, customs, and hidden gems, there is much to experience in the north African country that borders the Mediterranean Sea coastline. A memorable moment during his time in Tunisia comes up in conversation. “On our first day in Tunisia, before sunrise we drove to Ksar Ghilane—an oasis right at the edge of the Sahara. Small towns and villages along the way appeared to be already remarkably vibrant in those early morning hours. After we left any forms of civilization behind us, we passed through the first stone desert before the soil completely transformed into sand. As we got out of the car and were right at the edge of the Sahara, this was my magic moment: Nothing but sky and sand, complete silence”.