At the beginning of the 1950s, the city of Giessen built emergency accommodation in an area known as “Auf dem Eulenkopf” for people without fixed abode. Socially underprivileged families were thus separated from the city’s middle-class society. Living conditions were accordingly difficult, and social problems and violence soon followed.
In the 1970s, students began to address the problems and tried to create a decent neighborhood together with the residents. They found a prominent advocate in Horst-Eberhard Richter, the director of the local psychosomatic clinic. In 2020, fifty years after the foundation of the initiative, Richter’s granddaughter Merle Forchmann embarked on a photographic exploration of today’s Eulenkopf housing estate.
Over a period of two years, Forchmann repeatedly traveled to Giessen. She established contact with the social workers, got to know the residents, talked to the people, and started to photograph everyday life in the estate from within. With authentic, powerful images and intense recordings of conversations, she has created an impressive portrait of the neighborhood and its residents.