In Search of Mental Catharsis and Regeneration

Interested in the themes of stress relief and inner growth in urban communities today, Nils Stelte captures various activities including archery, hypnosis, hapkido, and yoga; all considered to be some of the best modern practices to fight everyday stress.


Between documentation and distortion, Renaissance is an ongoing project that explores the broad supply of spiritual eclecticism in urban communities looking for stress relief. In forests, community halls, hospitals, and hotel lobbies, urbanites gather for rituals in search of mental catharsis and regeneration. Although emerging as an individual psychological burden, stress is a societal symptom conquering everyday life, condensed in the city.

Desiring security, relief, and optimism, its dwellers perform symbolic acts to replace their previous outlook on life with new meanings and altered experiences. In seemingly staged photos, Renaissance shows individuals in the quest for means to overcome personal crisis. These operate between self-optimisation and self-realisation, between spiritualism and pragmatism, and add up to a list of possibilities designed to make them more resilient.

Words and Pictures by .








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Nils Stelte (*1989, Germany) is a Berlin-based photographer. He is a graduate of Ostkreuz School of Photography where he was mentored by Ute Mahler. He holds a B.A. in Social Sciences from Humboldt University Berlin. Using his background in the social sciences, his work explores changing socio-political beliefs and examines their influence on the individual. His previous work In Security won the Münzenberg Forum first prize and was selected and exhibited at Darmstädter Tage der Fotografie, Young The PhotoBook Museum by Markus Schaden, Copenhagen Photo Festival, Athens Photo Festival, and Lumix Festival. Find him on PHmuseum and Instagram.

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This feature is part of Story of the Week, a selection of relevant projects from our community handpicked by the PHmuseum curators.

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