Free Choice / Conceptual Photography | Winner

Thomas Friedrich Schäfer


Experiential Spaces


The family home is often defined by the things we associate it with. These entities exist both as objects in their own right and as reference points upon which we frame our memories. Recalling these places and the things evokes the experience of nostalgia.

In creating the space, the artist experiences an emotional novelty as the installation triggers memories of a previously experienced space.

These experiential spaces are historically accurate reconstructions of childhood memories bringing to mind questions of the accuracy of memory. Hand-built sets were constructed and documented with digital photography before being deconstructed, making the place as ephemeral and intangible as one's memory. The installation is only evident in the photograph itself.

The depicted space, reconstructed from memory and imagination can lead to a new perspective when looking at the past.


Thomas Friedrich Schäfer, geboren in Mainz und aufgewachsen in Sao Paulo, kam zum Studieren zurück nach Deutschland zurück. Nach einem Bachelor-Abschluss an der Technischen Kunsthochschule in Berlin, nahm er 2014 an verschiedenen Ausstellungen teil. U. a. waren seine Werke in Berlin zu sehen. Der Felix Schoeller Photo Award ist die erste große Auszeichnung des Fotokünstlers.

Jury Statement

What makes a photo in a conceptual portfolio a good photo? It must jump into our faces, it must irritate us, it must make a spontaneous statement and it must confront us with a story. It must, however, also leave us with room to think and inspiration to write our own stories. What it may not do – even after viewing it for the tenth time – is bore us. All of this is an integral component of every one of these five images. In his cinematically staged series of childhood memories, Thomas Friedrich Schäfer questions the reliability of memory. The complexity of his images takes us into a new dimension. The viewer perceives a desire to dig deeper that verges on voyeurism. In this, his picturesque images steer viewers into their own store of memories and carry them away on a journey into the past.