Oktoberfest Cathedrals: Photo Series by Michael von Hassel
They look like the hallowed halls of a cathedral or the grand ballrooms of baroque palaces: the beer tents of the famous Oktoberfest. At least they do in photographer Michael von Hassel’s unique series of images “Oktoberfest Cathedrals”. Since 2010 he has photographed 15 of these temporary amusement structures, capturing them without hordes of tipsy visitors, without brass bands and beer stein-carrying waitresses.
The effect, achieved through atmospheric lighting and cleverly chosen points of views, is astounding for two reasons: The gigantic size of these tents suddenly becomes obvious, much more so than when they’re filled with visitors, and even without being aware of the series title, the viewer can’t help but think of houses of prayer, whether at home or abroad. With the slight difference that visitors of the Schottenhammel or the now defunct Hippodrome, immortalized in von Hassel’s photos, aren’t there to pay homage to any religion but to pleasure alone.
Despite attending a Benedictine high school, the photographer’s own relationship to the church is ambivalent, but even so he has an acute sense of the power and atmosphere of sacred buildings. It is a kind of stylized reality.
The photographer also doesn’t hesitate to muck in, as he mentioned in a recent interview: When he didn’t like the way the benches looked, stored on top of the tables, in the Löwenbräu tent, he personally put them back on the ground (5,800 seats!).
You can see the results of his long-lasting project at the City Hall Gallery (Rathausgalerie), Marienplatz 8, through October 10, every Tuesday to Sunday from 11 am to 7 pm. Admission is free. Additional works by Michael von Hassel are featured in the monograph “Compendium“, published by teNeues.
P. S. These two essentials for the fall season leave the infamous Oktoberfest flu no chance: our Allude cashmere „janker“ with contrasting piping in fuchsia and a somewhat coarser knitted cardigan. To paraphrase a well-known Bavarian saying: „Cuddly is’“!
Photos: Michael von Hassel