Risen from the ashes to live in the dust


My name is Andy Schwetz, I‘m 39 years old and i live in a Suburb near Munich, Germany.

The Story of my life, which has contributed a lot to my being a photographer and artist today is not short or easy to tell – but it is important for me to tell it because it is still influencing my artwork til today.

In 2011 I began to be more interested in photography and to deal with it intensively. The unexpected death of my little daughter in 2008 led to severe depression and a sense of meaninglessness in my life and photography helped me a lot to find my way back to life and was the best therapy for me.

As soon as I started looking through the viewfinder, I felt free. Free from all the pain and intrusive thoughts. Furthermore, I became able to see and capture the world the way I wanted to. And it gave me the possibility to redirect and use all that negative energy to create something new and positive.

That‘s why my love for „abandoned places“ has grown so much that they are a large area of my creative field an artwork today. Because they reflect and show the way I am and/or the way I feel. On the one Hand, they are abandoned and forgotten. They are obviously broken and destroyed. But, on the other Hand, if you take a closer look at them, you can still see their hidden beauty.
There‘s only one big difference: my time is far from over. The best is yet to come.

During the years, I have already traveled about 20 countries in order to capture those abandoned beauties and visited nearly 900 lost places. Although my main focus is to create artistic photographs, I am also interested in doing some photo series with a documentary character. I also like that, because the historical and contemporary value is as important to me as the artistic and creative aspect I mentioned before.

Becoming an artist has been a steady process with many ups and downs. I avoided taking the big step into the commercialization of my work for a very long time: I could not reconcile it with my principles for years.

However, when my wife and sister became seriously ill at almost the same time, I realized that it was timeto stop wasting my talent and that I could still keep something idealistic, even if my art is available for sale.

And, of course, there is also a financial motivation behind it: at the moment, I am the only one of my 6-people-family, who is able to earn money.

During the last years, I already had a number of group and solo exhibitions. Currently, I am working on my first official book about the Chernobyl exclusion zone. At the same time, I am working with a TV production company on a television series about life as an urban explorer.

All artists always have a close connection to our work. For me, it feels like so much more. It‘s my whole heart and soul and my life‘s work. First of all, it saved my life. Now, my big dream ist, that my art could contribute to make the lives of my loved ones a little better, easier and more carefree in the long run. So that the circle finally closes at the end.


My photographs are not only art. They are a contemporary historical medium. Many works show historically significant places and many of those places will sooner or later disappear forever.
That‘s why I always say: you don‘t just collect art, you also collect history: every piece of art has it`s own spirit of time and it`s own significance for someone‘s history.

Aesthetics and visual language is an important criterion for me, but I do not necessarily correspond to the general definition. My aesthetics may also be quite dreary, bleak, melancholic or sad. It is not just about showing a beautiful photo to the viewer – it should awaken an emotion in him and make him think as well.

Another peculiarity of my pieces is the fact, that they show a different view of the world. It is also a side of the world that many do not know or they do not get access to it. I sometimes go for it with large health and legal risks for the goal to be able to send the viewer on a thought and time travel. Many images are therefore not only rare in their edition, but also the motif is often unique in this state.

To me, art is something that brings the artist and viewer in an intimate situation, as the emotions of both sides merge at the moment of viewing. That lends the work its perfect meaning. Therefore, the human component, that I let flow into my art, is very important to me. The reason why I tell so much about the human and social influences and thoughts is, that I want to make people happy with my arts.

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