Oktoberfest like you've never seen it before


Empty beer tents at Oktoberfest

It's rare to see empty tents at Oktoberfest - a perspective photographer Rainer Viertlböck managed to capture here. During the Oktoberfest in 2014 and 2015, he documented both iconic and surprising images from the festival. Now his photos from the beer festival are being released as a book, titled simply "Oktoberfest."


Colorful crowd

The calm before the storm is followed each year by a rush of some six million visitors. "The atmosphere on the 'Wiesn' develops around the clock," said Rainer Viertlböck in an interview about his new picture book. Some 144 refreshment stands make sure all those guests stay fed and happy.


Above the masses

"I wanted to try to distance myself from the happenings - in an almost analytical way," said the photographer. "To do that, I had to position my camera in a place that was removed from the vantage point of the visitors." To achieve unusual perspective, Rainer Viertlböck relied on extra-high tripods, cranes and drones.


Unusual perspectives

For his colorful shots, Viertlböck - who is known for his aerial photos of Munich - didn't just take a bird's eye view. Here, he captured a chairoplane as if viewed through a kaleidoscope.


Rain or shine at the Wiesn

This haunted house stands out against the threatening dark sky behind it. The crowd certainly doesn't seem to be deterred by a little rain. With his album, Viertlböck achieves a multi-faceted portrait of the world-famous festival.


The tradition lives on

The first Oktoberfest was held in 1810 to celebrate the wedding of Prince Ludwig and Princess Therese. Since the festival's 200th anniversary in 2010, a portion of the Theresienwiese called "Oide Wiesn" has displayed historical beer tents. For his photos, Viertlböck aimed for a "mix of the tradition that actually remains and the preservation thereof."


The dark side of Oktoberfest

The less cheerful sides of Oktoberfest - feeling lost, losing control, mountains of trash, and countless medical emergencies - are a part of the spectacle, but rarely make it into photographer volumes. Viertlböck doesn't shy away from the unattractive aspects and the damage that revelers leave behind.


It's a wrap

"Social inequality, which I usually depict in my work with drastic juxtapositions, is shown much more subtly here," said the photographer about his Oktoberfest project. "In this way, the character of the 'Wiesn' appears dramatic in the natural images and you can't sense much romance or tradition."

Oktoberfest is more than beer, lederhosen and dirndls. A new photographer book by Rainer Viertlböck reveals a unique perspective on the world's most famous festival - from empty beer tents to intoxicated guests.

Munich's so-called "Wiesn" is full of lederhosen and dirndl this week, with Oktoberfest running from September 17 to October 3.

German photographer Rainer Viertlböck spent the past two years at the festival with his camera. He was on the lookout for unusual images that give a realistic view of the event but are rarely seen.

Viertlböck's project is now being published as a book, simply called "Oktoberfest." The photos, sometimes spatially removed from the event, offer a unique, behind-the-scenes vantage point. Who'd have thought that the temporary stands and tents could seem like imposing architectural masterpieces?

The view from above

Lifestyle | 16.09.2016

Rainer Viertlböck is well known for his aerial photos of Munich. He regularly searches for extraordinary perspectives by using professional tools like cranes, XXL tripods and drones.

The result of his work is an exceptional documentation of the festival by day and night, with and without visitors, that goes beyond the cliché images we've all seen a thousand times before.

The beer tents are either empty or filled to the brim and the photos don't portray smiling dirdl wearers but capture moments when they are turned away, not striking a well-planned pose.

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