About Thomas Rink

Despite being trained as a biologist and working as a software developer, I have a deep passion for the arts - predominantly pictures and music.

Currently, the focus of my picture-making is on portraying places which are shaped by human action but currently disused; land-scapes in the true sense of the word. Since I live in the Ruhrgebiet (a now in parts defunct industrial region in the very west of Germany), there is plenty of this around my home. My aim is not to create spectacular "ruin porn", rather, I am intrigued by Nature reclaiming these places. Here, I find a wilderness which is much more authentic than in conserved national parks.

In these unkempt places, untamed growth and decay interweave to form a chaotic symphony of life; Nature's vigour manifests itself in a dense tangle of shrubs, tendrils and branches. There is a subtle order, a particular beauty behind this complexity, one that can only be grasped from the heart, on an intuitive, subliminal level. My pictures aim at revealing this beauty. Being receptive to it requires a state of inner stillness, which I can most easily attain during dusk or dawn, on rainy and overcast days. Repeated visits are necessary, too, since a place changes with the seasons and the weather conditions; I, the observer, as a person change over time and so does my emotional landscape. Quite often, I see a picture unfold in front of my eyes which wasn't there the day before, and will be gone the day after or even on return an hour later.

Is this how the place looks like?

Yes and no. Yes in a sense that the camera simply accurately records what's in front of it; no since the decision about when to take the picture, and what to include in the frame are highly subjective. These decisions depend on my personal interpretation of a place, and in particular my emotional condition in this very moment. It is my belief that the tension between technically accurate recording of a scene and the subjectivity of the picture-making is what makes photography interesting as a medium; what the picture shows is "true" and objective in one way and in another way it is not. I try to actually enforce this subjectivity by omitting the sky and the horizon from my pictures. Long story short, for me the place in reality looks like this and for you probably not. My reality just isn't yours, but at least it's reality.

What about the silly name, then?

"The zone" refers to the proverbial "getting into the zone". For me, this means to attain the contemplative state of mind which I'm striving for when I'm out taking pictures. In addition, "the zone" may also be understood as an allusion to the novel "Roadside picnic" by Arkadi and Boris Strugatzki.