Book look: Horizons & humanity

“Horizons” is a collection of around 150 landscape and city photographs by Sze Tsung Leong. The British-American artist, who is based in Los Angeles horizonsand New York, took pictures in countries all over the world. Sticking to wide angle shots, Leong created unusual portraits of places like Istanbul, Quito, Astana and Rome. On his images, bustling megacities like Tokyo appear calm and fragile. Spectators have to make up their minds as Leong avoided stressing any positive or negative aspects. Blocks of flats, huge advertisements and skyscrapers – his photographs illustrate reality. Apart from some exceptions such as dense fog at the Great Wall, the weather conditions appear to be the same everywhere. The sky is neither blue nor grey. These neutral, objective circumstances make “Horizons” to some kind of quiz as many cities are hard to identify at a glance. While urban areas dominate the selection of photos, images of grazing cows in Belgium and some other idyllic scenes increase the variety in this extraordinary picture book.

Horizons
By Sze Tsung Leong
Published by Hatje Cantz (www.hatjecantz.com)

Thanks to the Hollywood hit from 1993 by Steven Spielberg, the world knows about the admirable achievements of Oskar Schindler. The biographies of Schindler and Anton Schmid, wettea German sergeant, feature remarkable similarities. Schmid attempted to save as many lives as well – and eventually paid with his own. In his new book, Freiburg University historian Wolfram Wette reconstructs the actions of Schmid. The Viennese soldier – who was executed in 1942 – managed to rescue hundreds of members of the local Jewish community during his engagement in Lithuania. Like Schindler, Schmid pretended to need workforce for various urgent work orders. At the same time, he provided the Jews – who might have get killed otherwise – with essential documents. Wette, who previously released books about the Wehrmacht and militarism in Germany, created an intense and touching portrait of an outstanding personality.

Feldwebel Anton Schmid. Ein Held der Humanität
By Wolfram Wette
Published by S. Fischer (www.fischerverlage.de)

::: The Austrian Culture Channel on Twitter: @accthomas

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