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Step Inside the Sterile Offices of East Germany's Secret Police

A West German photographer couple has spent 10 years documenting the interrogation rooms, prisoner cells, and slick modern offices of the East German secret police, or Stasi. Wired's Margaret Rhodes finds the sheer sterility of the spaces presented in Stasi—Secret Rooms fascinating; with the lack of graffiti in the cells, and the "antiseptic design" of the offices hinting at "the degree to which the Stasi kept a tight lid on dissenters," and tried to "quash any individuality or imagination" among its own officers.

What's interesting is the extent to which Daniel and Geo Fuchs' techniques add to these associations:

"The pair also added additional sterility to the photos, by carefully and consistently measuring the distance between the camera, floor, and vanishing point for each photograph. That conformity is a tool, providing the viewer the same boxed-in feeling someone might experience in the cramped visitor room, or a prisoner might feel beneath the spotlights of an interrogation room. It is meant to be oppressive, Geo Fuchs says. 'You shouldn't feel good in these rooms.'"

↑ A visitor's room in the Bautzen prison, in eastern Saxony.

↑ A photo-taking station found in an interrogation room in a Potsdam prison.

Head to Wired for the series in full.

· The Eerie Architecture of East Germany's Secret Police [Wired]