Documentary photography


After the wave. Before the wave.

On 11 March 2011 at 14:46 local time, the worst earthquake ever recorded in Japan occurred on Japan's east coast. My latest photographic work is about the aftermath of the resulting tsunami disaster.


home front – staging war

Claudio Hils had the opportunity to explore restricted access zones of the German armed forces, the type that exist all over the world, but that are almost always off limits. In southern Germany, troops and special task forces are rehearsing potential future military interventions among props from wars of the past as well as in the latest digital test environments.

<!--:de-->Abseits / 51<!--:--><!--:en-->Aside / 51<!--:-->

abseits – aside – à l'écart

Few landscapes of Germany’s Southwest managed to preserve a unique balance of nature, work and culture like the rural space settled between the Danube, the Allgäu and Lake Constance. Yet long ago this idyll began to deceive. Now, where ‘home’ is the nicest word for backwardness (Martin Walser), it is being permiated right into the natural growth, the touristy barrocated blue skies by the harbingers of modernization.



The images in this catalogue are the result of a photographic reconnaissance. They document those industrial regions in Friedrichshafen, where they are located, which to this day decisively characterize the identity of the city. MTU, EADS, ZF Konzern, Zeppelin GmbH. The names of the industrial heavyweights make reference to a conflicting legacy, which includes utopia as well as destruction.



In his photographic projects Claudio Hils explores controversial themes, such as the surreal scenery of war at an army training ground or the inhumanity of urban architecture in the new metropolitan mega-conurbations. In this volume he documents the evidence left by years of violence in Belfast.


Dream City

What would Siena be without the Campo? What would Venice be without St. Mark's Square? The town architects of the past knew well the benefit and the importance of open areas within the city walls. Comparable squares or public space are relatively rare in 20th century architecture. Admittedly vast sums are spent on improving our inner cities, creating new zones for shopping and leisure, but very few cities put any effort into reinstating or creating new high quality open spaces in the suburbs or in residential areas.

<!--:de-->Zielobjekt für Gummigeschosse: Terrorist 3<!--:--><!--:en-->Target for rubber bullet: terrorist 3<!--:-->

Red Land, Blue Land

The present publication contains photographs by Claudio Hils taken at the troop training grounds in Senne, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany.
During man oeuvres Red Land stands for enemy, Blue Land for friendly territory. The artist approaches the terrain with what appear to be standard pictures of landscapes already suggestive of a specific intention. In what follows, the reader will observe a series of mysterious pictures of a seemingly surreal ghost town which, until recently, has provided the setting of numerous rehearsals for military emergencies.

<!--:de-->Kudamm, Berlin, Dezember 1989<!--:--><!--:en-->Kudamm, Berlin, December 1989<!--:-->


Following an individual impulse and having the need to clarify a certain feeling of faintness towards himself, the photographer Claudio Hils has documented a decade of German History since the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989. With the author, the whorl of images passes through space, which at arrival is no longer the same, and from which spontaneity, joined by irritations such as vague hopes, grows into a process. Time becomes the axis and the mirror of its breaking.


Tokyo Urban Space

In this exhibition catalogue Claudio Hils devotes himself to the Japanese world. Human beings in the architecture of central bank quarters are the focus of this selection as well as urban scenery with canals and parks, rivers and the tangle of high streets. The coloured slides and the subjects share the same clinical cleanliness.

Applied Photography


Hölderlin. Eine Winterreise

To this day H Hölderlin’s journey to Bordeaux in the winter of 1801/1802 remains an enigma. Only one thing is certain, it became the turning point of his life and his writing as a poet. Thomas Knudden followed the route on foot. Starting in Nürtingen, over the Swabian Alb and the Black Forrest, past Strassbourg and Lyons, through the Auvergne to Bordeaux. In winter and alone.


New Building Works | Wolverhampton Art Gallery

60 tonnes of scaffolding, 12 miles of cable, 10,000 hours to install electrics, 5 tonnes of tubing and boards, 2000 tonnes of rock and spoil excavated, 360 cubed metres of concrete moved, 2 km of structural steel used to create the triangular structure.
This raw data provides a glimpse into the building of the extension to Wolverhampton Art Gallery which represents a milestone in our history.



In 2004 Claudio Hils was asked by the Photography Museum Amsterdam to compile an artistic documentary of the Dutch national soccer team. He accompanied the TEAM.NL on several friendlies leading up to the European Championship. The results are far removed from sports photography commonly encountered. His work offers views into areas not normally focused on by sports photography.

<!--:de-->September 2001: Schulung von Kassenpersonal bei der Soumen Pankki - Finlands Bank in Helsinki. <!--:--><!--:en-->september 2001: Training of cashiers at Suomen Pankki - Finlands bank in Helsinki.<!--:-->

The Making of the Euro

Since 1 January 2002 more than 300 million people from the twelve Monetary Union Member States have been using the common currency, the euro, every day. Belgium, Germany, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Austria, Portugal and Spain have seen the new currency become a symbol of the unswerving integration process within one year. Claudio Hils, a renowned photographer, had been commissioned by the European Central Bank to document the birth of the european currency from june 2001 to february 2002.


WerkStadt Sindelfingen

On behalf of Daimler Chrysler AG, Claudio Hils documented the employees of the plant in Sindelfingen for the exhibition and the book "werkstadt sindelfingen - An Exhibition by Daimler Chrysler AG".
More than 26.000 people visited the exhibition between May and December 2001 - an overwhelming response.


In the river

The River Weser kept two carrier-ships and their sandstone-freight for over three hundred years hidden.
In this publication, Claudio Hils documents the phases of recovery, conservation and presentation of the historic Weser ships.

Publisher & Curator


Special exhibition of the Bauernhaus Museum Wolfegg: "Man-made. Photographic views of the landscapes of our time"

From May to October 2022, a special exhibition at the Bauernhaus Museum Wolfegg will deal with the traces left on the landscape by our age, which is characterised by mechanisation, traffic and urbanisation.


Gallery in the Marchtal Abbey, Obermarchtal

2012 Claudio Hils founded and curated the gallery in the cloister presenting contemporary photography focusing fundamentally on the human picture in photography.


FHV Gallery

Libraries shelter the literary works of the past and present but at the same time act as places of communication, encounter and exchange. With the Topic “Border areas – Grounding Photography” we offer a wide and sometimes controversial approach to contemporary photography. The border areas presented here offer insights into the different worlds of experiences as faced by the selected photographers. We join them on a picture tour to the border lands of the past and the future, show us inner and outer spaces, convey strangeness and the familiar.


ECB Award

How do we experience different cultures? How are they perceived as a group? In a united Europe, how can identities be preserved and, at the same time, common structures be ‘experienced’ and communicated? ... A visual memory could be created in the photographs based on the rapid change in the varied experiences of different generations and peoples in Europe. As time passes, a contemporary mirror becomes a historical document.


The Ravensburg Project

In the year 2000 the town of Ravensburg starts a multiyear photographic field study, a successive social and esthetical self-exploration. In a yearly rota for an initial 5 year selected photographers are invited to confront the urban area. With the backdrop of omnipresent media, globalization, acceleration of life these photographers will artistically position themselves documenting the social and cultural living space of a town at the beginning of the 21st century.


About Royal Kids and Others. Friedrich Pöhler, 1909-1910

Von Königskindern und anderen (About Royal Kids and Others) Friedrich Pöhler, a photographer in Wilhelmsdorf 1909-1910 It is still not known why in 1909 the wandering photographer Friedrich Pöhler came to the Upper Swabian village of Wilhelmsdorf, why - out of all places - he set up a photo atelier there and where he moved to after nearly two years of residency. Not even the value of his photographic legacy of Wilhelmsdorf was immediately recognized when the ca. 350 glass negatives were found a few years ago.