Today, with google earth on every device, seeing the world from above has become a part of everyday life. Still, back in the 1980s it was a novelty to see your own home from a bird’s-eye view and people would buy such pictures and enjoy the change of perspective on their own home.
This is how the archive that Peter Piller used for the publication Von Erde schöner [Prettier from Earth] came to be: 12.000 photographs taken between 1979 and 1983 and sold from door to door by a cunning businessman. They show the bleak, conventional, often generic and sometimes overly personalized houses of German homeowners. Working with this massive collection of aerial shots, a task Piller described as a journey into his own past, he selected 300 pictures, sorting them by similarities, thereby creating a slight storyline throughout the book.
Swaying between comedy and sad truth, the revealing photographs not only allow a journey into the past: they accomplish to show the raw everyday life of real people. Also, through the artist’s sorting, they bear testimony to the amazing resemblance of their behaviour: from similar building methods of the houses themselves and mistakable cars to pedantically laid garden tiles, less-than useful mini-pools or ugly excavations.