Michael Nguyen

Photographer | Artist
   
The Windows of Wonders. Souls of the Past - Voices from the Beyond. An old hospital for German Air Force soldiers and a Sanatorium for the US Army to treat concentration camp inmates after the II. War
Location: Munich, Bavaria, Germany
Nationality: German
Biography: Most of the time, Michael Nguyen focuses on small, ordinary things but through the subjective lens, he give them new perspectives, a new soul. “With my camera I capture little things that we often don't notice in everyday life. I also... MORE
Private Story
The Windows of Wonders. Souls of the Past - Voices from the Beyond. An old hospital for German Air Force soldiers and a Sanatorium for the US Army to treat concentration camp inmates after the II. War
Copyright Michael Nguyen 2023
Date of Work Feb 2021 - Feb 2022
Updated Nov 2022
Topics Art, Documentary, Editorial, Emma Watson, Essays, Feature, Florian Gallenberger, Health/Healing, Historical, Holocaust, Journalism, Personal, Personal Projects, Photography, Photojournalism, Reflections, War and its effects
„My melancholic journey to the Souls of the Past was on four very sunny early afternoon winter days in February, 2021. Voices from the Beyond spoke to me through fascinating reflections of trees and houses in all the windows of the former clinic.“
(Michael Nguyen)


The Windows of Wonders


by Thanh Tung

In the 4th grade, there was a lesson in the writing class about metaphor. The example given by our lovely but controlling teacher was windows. Windows are eyes. And eyes are the windows of the soul. Something like that, just like that. We, the passive pupils of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, had to have to accept it, follow it without raising any other opinions. At that point, I was old enough to have my own opinion nonetheless: why aren't windows noses or lungs, because the air circulation is through windows. We open windows to let fresh air in and stagnant air out. However, when we wrote the writing exam of describing our house, everybody including me wrote: "windows are eyes". As I grew much older, I started to be open to everything, to embrace everything, to see and hear things with more holistic perspectives. Every time I look at windows, I discover something new about them. Like I look at the windows in the photographs of Michael Nguyen.

These windows are alive. They are the eyes of these houses. Not only because they allowed their former patients of the clinic and sanatorium to see the world outside, but outsiders today can see what they saw through the reflections. We can see that they saw houses, the beautiful nature there, the trees, the sky, the sun, the change of seasons. We can imagine what the patients heard then, birds singing, wind rustling or a soothing silence. So the windows are also ears. If we were there and opened those windows, we would also hear sounds from inside, because windows are also mouths. And we, the city dwellers, want the fresh air that these lungs breathe in.

By now, I am very much older, enough to see and hear things that are not supposed to be there. There is something invisible from these windows reaching out to me, touching my soul, transporting me to another place and time. Transcendent but tranquil. These windows of wonders by Michael Nguyen.

-

A Photography Series about an old hospital for German Air Force soldiers suffering from tuberculosis in 1943-1945 and a Sanatorium for the US Army to treat displaced persons and concentration camp inmates after the II. World War.

In 1938-1939, an anti-aircraft barracks was built on Unterbrunner Straße in Gauting near Munich (Starnberg District, Bavaria) according to a design by the German Air Force Construction Office, which was converted into a hospital for German Air Force  soldiers suffering from tuberculosis in 1943-1945. After the end of the war, the lung clinic was used by the US Army to  treat displaced persons and concentration camp inmates suffering from Tuberculosis. Today in the front part of the extensive grounds, Asklepios operates a hospital for pneumology.

The site and its buildings are and have been used for numerous national and international film productions, including: an episode for the German crime series "Soko 5113. The actress Emma Watson, known from the Harry Potter films, was here in front of the camera for a historical thriller directed by Oscar winner Florian Gallenberger about the notorious Colonia Dignidad in Chile.

Thanks to Asklepios Clinic for photography permission.



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The Windows of Wonders. Souls of the Past - Voices from the Beyond. An old hospital for German Air Force soldiers and a Sanatorium for the US Army to treat concentration camp inmates after the II. War by Michael Nguyen
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