German Photographer Robert Götzfried’s Latest Series Explores Church Organs

This series has been a long time coming for photographer Robert Götzfried, and we’ve been waiting in anticipation since our last feature on his ghostly work. Growing up in Bavaria in southern Germany, Robert visited a lot of Catholic churches. Every Sunday he would attend church, and it was there his fascination for church organs began. Robert comments that “the more churches I went to, the more often I thought that I want to shoot a series of organs.” And so, Robert’s latest series PIPES was born.


A visually arresting examination of patterns and shapes, this set of photographs explores the aesthetic functionalism of organs across many different churches. Characterised by soft lighting and clean lines, the photographs conjure a feeling of tranquility and meditation.

“I’m not a religious person, but I love the silence in churches. It seems there is a common practice in society of being quiet in churches, and I really like that.”


As a result, the photographs exude a sense of authoritative calm. But how did Robert land on this idea in the first place?

The Plus: What attracts you to churches in particular?
Robert Gotzfried:
Churches are places that I have visited  throughout my life since I was born, and at home we listened to classical music a lot.


TP: Has this musical upbringing stayed with you as an artist, do you think?
Now I think about it, there’s one element that all my architectural series have in common. The pools, the cinemas, the bowling alleys, the stations, the stadiums and the tunnels: I was alone in the room for each and it was very, very silent when I shot the pictures.


TP: What were some of the challenges of shooting in churches?
Sometimes the churches simply weren’t open when I got there. The weather also needed to be cloudy. Shining sun makes it hard, because pure light can fall on the organ pipes and make everything look too busy.


TP: Your work features a lot of patterns. You told us last time we caught up that you think in grids- do you think that this is why you focus on shapes and patterns so much?
Yeah, I guess so. As a designer that’s just the way I see the world. Almost every design project that I work on starts with a grid. My studies of design and photography were influenced by Otl Aicher – the man behind the design for the Olympic games in Munich in 1972. Probably everybody who is interested in sports in any kind of way will know the icons he made, because they are still used all around the world. His work was very, very structured.


TP: What are your plans for your next series?
In the near future, I will keep on working on the PIPES project – there are so many more wonderful organs that I really want to capture.