Recent photographs have taken me to Pennsylvania, Maryland and parts of the American South. I focused on former German prisoner-of-war camps and surrounding areas where prisoners were put to work by the US military. At the end of WWII there were over 400,000 prisoners, who worked on local farms and in small industries.
There is an irony where these German soldiers, both high-ranking Nazi officers and foot soldiers, were tilling the fields, cutting the lumber, picking apples, taking care of the American soil. This caring, benign work with the land stands in complete contrast to the horrific actions by Nazis and German soldiers in Eastern Europe of that time, such as Hitler's scorched earth policy. When photographing these landscapes I wanted to visually evoke the dualities that have characterized the German people over centuries, a people that are capable of both tremendous progress and destruction.
Romanticism has played a role in understanding the relationship of Germans to the landscape. In some photographs the land is overgrown appearing in a kind of primal state, suggesting the return to the original forest. It also suggests a fascist aesthetic of purity promoted by pre-war German culture. Innocence and purity can be seen as a natural desire to regress after one has become corrupted.
Bio and contact:
Dana Mueller was born and raised in Thueringia, East Germany until the fall of the Berlin Wall. She is an Adjunct Professor in photography and art history at the Art Institute of Boston. She received her MFA in Photography from the Massachusetts College of Art + Design. Her work has addressed exile, German identity, memory, history and landscape. As part of her current project, Devil's Den, Mueller has photographed sites related to the WWII German Prisoner-of-War experience in the US.
Mueller is the recipient of 2010, 09 + 08 Faculty Development Grants, the Art Institute of Boston, the 2008 Next Perspective 2nd Place - HotShoe International, UK, the 2007 St. Botolph Club Foundation Grant and her work has been exhibited at Rick Wester Fine Art, NY, Women in Photography | Humble Arts Foundation, NY, the Photographic Resource Center, Boston, MA, the Massachusetts College of Art + Design, Boston, MA, the Art Institute of Boston, MA, St. Botolph Club, Boston, MA, Bridge ARTFair, Miami, FL, North East Space, New Haven, CT, among others. Recent publications include Artscope | New England Art Magazine, Conscientious and The New York Photo Review, among others.
Dana is a Somerville, MA, based photographer.
To view more of her work, please visit her website: danamueller.net
You can also contact her by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org