Photo Gallery The Art of Lost Places

Berlin-based photographer Axel Hansmann captures the beauty of abandoned architecture with his photos of forgotten communist-era structures.
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Berlin-based photographer Axel Hansmann has managed to coax the charm out of grim settings, like this former Soviet military hospital in Beelitz, Brandenburg. Many of his photos, which are digitally manipulated, depict forgotten structures from the communist era of the former East Germany.

Foto: Axel Hansmann
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"Part of my project is to capture the beauty while it's still there," Hansmann told SPIEGEL ONLINE, describing his motivation to shoot such dilapidated scenes as this one in Beelitz.

Foto: Axel Hansmann
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Today, much of the Beelitz site is closed to the public, making Hansmann's photos one of the only ways to see it.

Foto: Axel Hansmann
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Hansmann says Beelitz, seen again here, is his favorite subject. He has visited it 13 times.

Foto: Axel Hansmann
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Another photogenic spot he's shot is this former slaughterhouse in the eastern German city of Halle.

Foto: Axel Hansmann
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Many of the places Hansmann shoots are off-limits to the public.

Foto: Axel Hansmann
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Others, like this former brewery in Leipzig, don't even exist anymore: This structure was torn down shortly after Hansmann photographed it.

Foto: Axel Hansmann
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"It does hurt when these spaces are torn down, or when I see them vandalized, or used as little more than garbage bins," Hansmann told SPIEGEL ONLINE. Here, another photo from Leipzig.

Foto: Axel Hansmann
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Some of the settings Hansmann photographs seem like they belong in a horror movie, like this ancient-looking operating room in Jüterbog.

Foto: Axel Hansmann
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But the photographer manages to capture the beauty of even the most morbid setting. Another shot from Leipzig.

Foto: Axel Hansmann
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Dust has collected on this piano at the former Grabowsee sanatorium in Oranienburg.

Foto: Axel Hansmann
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A ferris wheel in Berlin's Plänterwald amusement park. The abandoned site is a favorite among photographers.

Foto: Axel Hansmann
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This old power plant in Vockerode allows for interesting contrast between light and dark. Hansmann uses a special photographic technique to bring out such effects.

Foto: Axel Hansmann
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Another image of the former East German power plant.

Foto: Axel Hansmann
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Hansmann says that finding new subjects is getting increasingly difficult, as more abandoned architecture is destroyed by vandals or torn down completely.

Foto: Axel Hansmann
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