Log cabins are among the most romantic and literally most primitive buildings in our highly evolved civilization. As hallmarks of weekend and holiday culture, they are pastiches of our fight against nature untamed, our past as pioneers and forest dwellers. They are escapist, merely functional buildings—simple, yet expert do-it-yourself abodes, often the result of a years-long labor of love.
The images of log cabins in this book are from the archives of the Office for Building Safety in Kriens/Switzerland. They’re photographs whose use is easily determined: officials and amateurs tried to document the current state of a log cabin in as precise and detailed a manner as possible. The photographs were shot when the owners of the cabins were not present. Hence, we see empty camps, mostly in the crisp light of early morning, their shutters and doors closed. To identify them beyond any doubt, a clearly readable archival number was temporarily tagged on to them.
Waldhüttenbilder shows highly romantic, picturesque, bucolic situations, seen through the sober and classifying, yet interested and maybe even yearning gaze of an everyday bureaucrat. It’s a gaze that is almost anthropological, free of any will to art. Yet their aura transcends their initial use. — From the essay by Joseph Egli