Viennese photographer Reiner Riedler’s latest project was inspired by a conversation he had with Berlin-based artist and film archivist Volkmar Ernst of the Deutsche Kinemathek. The project, entitled “The Unseen Seen,” is a photo series that depicts films, both well-known and obscure, in a wholly original way. Each photo is an image of the film’s reel, instead of its content.

“The concept is to confront the viewer with the image of an object and in doing so recall images from the spectator’s memory. By reading the movie title, I want to generate emotions and images from our memory,” the photographer said. This innovative approach invites viewers to turn the film, as a physical object, into an abstract and internal artistic experience.

To capture these images, Riedler set up a photo studio inside a film archive center and erected lighting fixtures to backlight the rolls. Each film reel consists of thousands of compressed images. When the film is wound around a spool, it creates an object that bears a striking resemblance to an iris. The varying richness and depth of the film rolls give each its own character.

The series will be exhibited at Galerie Hengevos Durkop in Hamburg, Germany, through June 21.

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[via Designboom]