This work explores the dynamics between our emotional tension experienced in relation to our urban surroundings, subject to season.
Röhrig set out to explore his urban environment in miserable weather, interested in how he would relate to the environment in these glum seasonal conditions.The resulting images underline experiences of tension, suspense, and eeriness, regarding the explored urban environment.
TENSION also depicts the relationship between man-made structures, the forces of nature, and our human positioning in relation to them.
Aluminum, as a man-made metal, was the chosen medium, to illustrate the dynamic interconnection of the unyielding man-made structures and the emotional tensions arising from the images.
By sharing his emotional experience with the viewer, Röhrig hopes to prompt us to reflect on how we feel within our urban environment at different times. Röhrig believes that when we are conscious about it, our environment reflects much of what happens within us.
I was walking down Long Street (Cape Town) on a cold winter morning, the heavy mist was slowly moving through the cross roads. I was walking down the middle of the road, alone, when I noticed a flock of pigeons sitting in a neat line on the middle of the road. I realized the one way traffic coming my way from afar and I knew that the traffic would frighten the birds and that that would make for an interesting photograph. So I started running like a mad man toward the traffic as I knew I needed to get closer to get the shot and the right angle. I was running right for the traffic as I watched the cars chase the pigeons into the air, the flock flying directly at me. In that moment I knelt down to sturdy my camera and get the angle encapsulating the buildings around me, took a deep breath and shot a few frames, knowing that I had a double lane of cars coming for me. Once I knew that I got the shot, I moved off the road...
When taking photographs of birds one tends to follow their movement through the viewfinder. These pigeons flew up vertically into the sky and whilst trailing them with my lens I started to bend backwards to keep them in focus nearly toppling over backwards. The resulting image reflects this unbalance, where as the pigeons actually look like they are toppling over backwards. This feeling of being unbalanced and having to ‘catch-myself’ is one I often found myself in whilst shooting in the city.
I came across this image whilst seeking some interesting angles of the Cape Town carriage way. I was trying to see how one could make this structure look interesting and found and angle that had a very powerful perspective. The outside line of the bridge is close to vertical whilst the lines of the road, the trees, and the bridge pillars all lead the eye to the focal point of the cars emerging our of the mist. Whilst composing this image however I noticed the front end of a car peeking out behind one of the bridge pillars - I was not sure what that car was doing there but I cherished the feeling of tension it created. Would the car jump out any second, was it waiting for someone or something, why was it there at such an early time of the day, what would people driving along this road think or how would they react?
This image on the outset looks very calm, balanced, even romantic. I took it initially because of the balanced composition that I could get out of it but realized the details that emerged whilst setting up the shot. This image was taken in the centre of the Cape Town CBD, the dark water was algae green, the trees all had etchings in them, and a couple of homeless men walk past whilst I took the shot. I found it fascinating to come across a seemingly serene allée of trees and calm water in the middle of the city, and after some time becoming conscious of its actual quite blunt an real context.
I took this image as I was intrigued by the textures and structures of the metal rods hanging out of the building, with the two birds perched in between the poles. With the continuous construction filling every plot in the city, where do there birds get to nest now? What a bitter sweet irony that these birds are perched on what seem like branches for them, but that ultimately are the holding structures for man-made nests to be created.
The EndWhen you stand below this bridge and look up towards it, you cannot help but to feel in awe of its size, mass, and presence. You also won’t help but to wonder why this colossal structure ends in mid air, why it is still there, who built it, and what the future hold for it. Beneath it cars pass by every second, homeless people sleep around the pillars, and above, Hollywood films blockbuster movies. A tombstone for some, a city monument for others, cut off in mid air.
Shot in New York, or was it Paris? Some also consider this being shot on Adderley Street on a very wet and rainy day. The streets glistening from the water, rain drops cascading from the edge of the protruding balconies, and umbrellas being shaken dry by pedestrians, this is the cold winter of Cape Town.
A city can be quite an intimating place. The high rise buildings tower above you, the streets are often narrow and dark, and you are made to feel small and vulnerable. When the clouds hang heavy between the sky scrapers and a wind howls through the corridors of buildings the city can be a daunting and uncomfortable place to be. But when sunlight dissolves this misery, and strikes these buildings with illuminating and reflecting light, life comes back onto the streets and one cannot help to feel relieved and grateful for the comfort that the define forces have brought us.
Moving through Cape Town when the weather is miserable, rainy, and cold is a fascinating experience. The city looks so different, textures and shapes appear and disappear with the rain and mist pushing through the streets. I arrived at a children's playground in the Bo-Kaap, a normally vibrant and lively area of Cape Town. But on that day it felt like a ghost town. I meandered across this playground which felt very eerie, isolated, and forgotten. The city was fading in and out of view through the mist and the ground was muddy and wet. I wondered where the children would be on a day like today, and I also wondered if all of us might have a desolate playground within us, forgotten, childless, vanishing?
Stepping onto an empty highway in the rain is a very exhilarating experience. I wanted to capture the sense of emptiness and relay the feeling and relationship of the dark, grey, and heavy weather with the concrete structures. I felt like I was on a set of an apocalyptic movie, where residents having evacuated their city, I now was the only one left, standing in the middle of this gigantic four lane highway, waiting in anticipation what would come around the bend.