Wim Wenders: Written in the West, Revisited

In 1983, looking for the locations that would bring the desolate landscape of the American West to life in his iconic film ‘Paris, Texas’, German master filmmaker Wim Wenders took his Makina Planbel camera on the road. Driving through Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California, Wenders was captivated by the unique, saturated, colorful light of the wild landscape of the American West – even now, a land associated with cowboys and outlaws, and suffused with the mythology of the frontier. The series he produced, ‘Written in the West’, was first exhibited in 1986 at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, and first published in 2000. At the end of July, Wenders will add 15 new images of the sleepy town that gave the movie its name – though no footage was ever actually shot there. Made with a Fuji 6 x 4.5 camera, the new photographs are poetic documents of an abiding fascination and a search for personal memories. Together, they add an new chapter to Wenders’ classic ‘Written in the West’, now Revisited.

‘Written in the West’ was above all a journey of discovery into the light and colors of the American West. […] To a large extent shooting was based on an intimate knowledge of the small towns and landscapes that I had previously explored alone. I knew the territory and was not afraid of these Kodachrome skies, this wide horizon and this blinding light. And above all my trip helped me dismiss my concern, I’d only be able to see the West through the eyes of John Ford or Anthony Mann..

Over the past four decades, through films like ‘Der Amerikanische Freund’ (1977), ‘Paris, Texas’ (1984), ‘Wings of Desire’ (1987), ‘Buena Vista Social Club’ (1999) and ‘Pina’ (2011), Wim Wenders, born in 1945 in Düsseldorf in the West of Germany has distinguished himself as one of the leading lights of New German Cinema and one of the great directors in contemporary film. Wenders has had an equally distinguished career in photography; his photographs are exhibited and collected internationally.

Order ‘Written in the West, Revisited’ here.