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“Paradise Two” by Thomas Struth


Many artists have used art as a means of communication with their audience and concisely passing information, encrypted in their art. These pieces of art include paintings, photographs, and sketches drawn to represent some information or to fulfill some people’s desires and ways of thinking. Looking at articles of art gives a perception that the impossible is possible in all aspects as seen in that piece. Artistic work influences the lives of many people globally. One among these artists is Thomas Struth who was born in Germany at a place called Geldern in 1954. Struth started as a painter before getting an interest in photography. His great involvement in photography led to the production of his masterpiece art called paradise 2. This article consists of twenty-five photographs, addressed in the discussion below.

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The use of a small area in his photographs represents a place that appears vast and spacious. This is absurd but this piece of art is perfectly fit for paradise. The small area represents individuals who are close together in every aspect of life. The utopia paradise, being a place where many think as perfect in terms of no hatred, understanding between individuals and more so people working together towards the same goal is possible. Struth’s representation of the photographs connects the impossible world so easily that it is seamless and easy to achieve.

The photograph has closely knit trees showing that at this place, everybody works together and we become one. Society is has been exempted from alienation and racism which is a major cause of civil wars and ethnic clashes. These photographs represent such a place where individuals work together, depend on one another and listen to each other’s thoughts without discrimination just as we always think our paradise will be. This is an impressive way of representing unity among individuals in his work that unity that everyone craves for, Diego sees it as a tall order to be achieved, and could only be achieved in paradise (54).

Secondly, he has also used proper light illumination in his photographs; light represents hope in people or a better future. Hope and a brighter future characterize paradise and there is a reflection in paradise 19 and paradise 12 of his work. In a series, all photographs illustrate that idea and create an impression of how light penetrates the trees. It is a peculiar way to suggest that this is the place where all our hopes can be met one at a time and we are reassured that we view the future as a long-term thing, but in this case, the future is close and worth achieving.

This gives the idea that a paradise is a place where all human worries come to an end and are worth being. Everyone in the world wishes to wake up to a brighter day, “one of those days that you say life is worth living when neighbors bid you a good morning wish and the day starts on a good note,” (Diego 34). The evil world, dominated by hate in everyone’s heart and wishes people bad is absent. Struth has therefore successfully used his photographs to represent this brighter day because it instills hope in everyone’s heart. In this way, this place fulfills everyone’s desires and aspirations.

The paradise series shows tropical rain forests. Evergreen vegetation characterizes the forests, which represent productive land. Any society that has green vegetation is productive. In this case, it is a society that is self-sustaining in terms of catering to the in habitats needs. Jesus spoke of paradise, a place that people will enjoy the fruits of their labor, and the only activity will be to praise God for allowing His people to get there (Hartmann and Rudolf 36). Struth’s representation of green vegetation gives the same notion that this place is self-sustaining and that people will be ripping the fruits of their labor rather than second suffering. Societal problems such as hunger, poverty, insufficiency, and shortages are absent in the community. Everybody is able to access food and there are no classes within the society such as upper and lower due to inequitable distribution of resources.

At first sight of this art, it illuminates an ability to represent the aspect of peace and humility. There is peace in the sense that all the photographs communicate calmness. It is actually rare to look at any piece of art and see this character because most artists have a wide method of looking or presenting their idea. Struth made it possible by showing this.

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Looking at paradise 1, paradise 15 and paradise, nine the environmental setting is calm and this represents peace. It represents a place where there are no wars, no coups, a place where one can stay without fear of what will happen tomorrow. There is an assurance that peace will always be there and that everyone enjoys good moments there without any fear whatsoever, leading to self-actualization. The calmness of the vegetation (trees) represents the same peace that is withheld in paradise and so is this our second paradise. In this peace dwells humility.

It actually expresses modesty, shunning pride and encouraging individuals to do good things willingly. There should be no hatred but pure love in everyone’s heart. This is an aspect of encouraging virtues and discouraging vices within the society. Paradise depicts this according to Hartmann and Rudolf (33).

Paradise represents a place that is fulfilling and meets all human desires therefore unreachable. Strut took the photos from different locations. Struth had to travel a lot to get these photographs from jungles of Japan, Australia and China. This indeed was a task; this earns him credit that for us to reach or find our paradise it takes serious suffering. The secrecy and inaccessibility of these places depict the presence of paradise because paradise is a place where only few people will have a chance to see and reach like paradise 1 and 24.

The Bible teachings state that only the righteous will see paradise and righteous are the few and lucky. The Holy Koran also promises this place for the faithful after death. It is not a guarantee for everyone to get there, but only those who have qualified meet the expectation. Paradise series communicates this for only those who have faith in it get there. This explains why many people look at Struth’s work and fail to recognize paradise because they cannot conceptualize that hidden aspect of paradise in it. This place is for the few and he covered that in his work (Diego 67).

Paradise series represents a quantity of self, ability to meditate. It gives an ability to relax ones’ mind and communicate to one self. Paradise 4 clearly depicts this aspects of meditation, in this world it is only you and yourself it a dialogue. Spiritually meditation is a high level of communication in individuals done in quiet and peaceful places. For instance, when Indians are meditating, they shut their door to avoid sudden interruption of the session. The essence of peace is significant in paradise according to Diego (45).

During meditation, most people feel relieved of all their problems and any thing that has been a bother in mind because they are elevated to another level both spiritually and physically. The ultimate of meditation will be paradise. Struth ensured his art has that room for meditation, which is only ultimate in paradise. A place of no disturbance and you can meditate the whole day without fear of intrusion according to Hartmann and Rudolf (34).

The human mind has both conscious and unconscious parts, which have an ability to work at different times helps. The unconscious part of brain is alert during rest or sleep. This is why most psychiatrists have had problems to treat so many people who have suffered mental breakdown after going through difficult moments in their life. There are unfavorable environmental conditions that exploit the unconscious part of brain of clients. This makes it difficult for a psychiatrist to treat since it is only the client can control his conscious according to Diego (57).

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Paradise 9 shows that in the right environment, without the help of the psychiatrist, a person can access his unconscious mind. This ability, preserved only in paradise, happens in Struth’s work, where he gives it a credit of paradise. The ability to evoke the penetration of the unconscious highly depends on the environment where one is in. This is where all the unacceptable feelings of a human being are stored and any other thing that the ego feels might cause pain if retrieved. So if this art elicits this it would be a small paradise.

Paradise 19 and paradise 22 vividly illustrate liberty. Liberty is a state of relieve from a one harming environment. The two reflect some signs of relieve and happiness to insinuate that all is well and that the bother is no more. This is the feeling of a prisoner who served a thirty-year imprisonment on his release. It is liberation from injurious things in the environment and seeking refuge. This photograph shows a place where all people could seek their refuge and would find their liberty. The utopia paradise is a place where everybody experiences paradise. Paradise 19 and 22 represent hope in freedom thereby signify liberty eagerly yearned by many.

Lastly, these photographs also build courage and boldness in them and shun escapism. Right from the way the trees grow, their colour and spacing build a world of possibilities and impossibilities is absent. This illustrates what most people yearn for in paradise. All the photographs have a lot of light used, which removes fear. The presence of bright light is an indication of hope in future. This increases confidence in people willing to face the future.


Thomas Struth’s work is not only artistic but also very informative. The illustration of paradise in an artistic manner that makes more of a reality than a fantasy makes it achievable. The choice of scenarios gives it a magnificent appearance that removes the utopist assumption given to paradise. The use of scenarios from different parts of the World makes it realistic. This is a well thought series of ideas that capture the mind easily. The illustrations are convincing giving them the ability to communicate something unique in a normal manner, achieving artistic characteristics.


Hartmann, Ingo and Hans Rudolf. Thomas Struth: New Pictures from Paradise. Germany: Schirmer/Mosel, 2002. Print.

Diego, Estrella. Thomas Struth: Making Time. London: Turner, 2007. Print.

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