Paris, Texas director Wim Wenders shows unseen photographic work in Paris, France

Wim Wenders, Old Trapper’s, San Fernando, California, 1983 Cibachrome; printed c.1983
Wim Wenders, Old Trapper’s, San Fernando, California, 1983 Cibachrome; printed c.1983 (Image credit: Wim Wenders)

Paris Photo is fast approaching, and one thing to be on the lookout for is the previously unseen work of director and photographer Wim Wenders, who has gained the representation of the Howard Greenberg Gallery (November 9-12, 2023). Wender's work will be on display at the Grand Palais Éphémère, showcasing previously unseen and exhibited work shot when preparing for his landmark film Paris, Texas in 1983. The work will be a selection of unique vintage Cibachrome prints.

Wim Wenders is a highly respected German filmmaker 'considered a pioneer of 1970s 'New German Cinema' and one of the most important representatives of contemporary cinema internationally'. His photographic work has been exhibited in museums around the world, his output includes numerous photo books, film books, and collections of essays. His films have been very well-received internationally with hits including Paris, Texas (1984), Wings of Desire (1987), and PINA (2011). 

• See our guide to The Best Film Cameras in 2023

During the preparation of the film Paris, Texas (1984), Wenders traveled the American West with his 6x7 medium format camera, in search of desolate landscapes and interesting characters, for his movie. For several months Wenders traveled through Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California, in awe of the vastness of the landscape and the cowboy mystique represented in old westerns. Light and color were the main subjects of Wenders' attraction, being drawn to the warm glow that energized the otherwise bleak landscape.  

Wenders' is said to have loved using his Plaubel Makina 67 to take these photographs, and insisting on traveling alone without an assistant. "If I'm not alone, I don't take pictures", says Wenders. "The basic thing I'm after is to abandon myself and immerse myself in the place, you can't do that with somebody else around." 

Nowadays Wenders uses a digital Leica rangefinder camera and you can get an insight into his process, in this video made by Wenders for the Leica M8. 

The resulting photographic series, Written in the West, was exhibited in 1986 at the Centre Pompidou, and then published as a book in 2001. Written in the West was the initial series and starting point for Wenders’ 20-year photography project Pictures from the Surface of the Earth. 

Howard Greenberg Gallery will present Wenders at Paris Photo and then during a solo exhibition of Wim Wenders photographs in collaboration with Wenders Images in September 2024. For more information keep an eye on the Howard Greenberg Gallery website.

If Wenders' work has inspired you, you may find our guides for the best medium format, best film stock, and the best Leica cameras a useful starting point. 

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Kalum Carter
Staff Writer

Kalum Carter is a UK-based photographer, writer, and photo editor. Kalum has been working as a freelance photographer for the best part of ten years, covering a wide range of assignments for well-known brands and publications in areas including portraiture, fashion, and documentary. 

Between commercial assignments, Kalum is currently working on a personal photography project exploring his connection to the Gower region of South Wales UK, as part of an MA in Photography from The University of West England.