Canadian Adrian Fish is one of the few photographers who've been permitted to take and publish photos from the archives of the Stasi, the legendarily invasive secret police of the former East Germany, who employed one snitch for every 60 people at their peak.
Fish's series, Deutsche Demokratische Republik: The Stasi Archives, documents the incredible and banal scope of these archives, with " 69 miles of shelved documents, 1.8 million images, and 30,300 video and audio recordings housed in 13 offices throughout Germany."
Fish has always found Cold War Germany fascinating and spent four months in Germany in 2015 photographing historical sites throughout the country. He hassled an archive employee long enough to get a tour of the archives office in Berlin. Fish spent an afternoon photographing endless rows of manila file folders and film canisters, and visiting Stasi offices and break rooms with typewriters and wood-paneled walls. "The technology is anachronistic, and it looks kind of stylish, but these are the lounges where decisions were made to shatter lives," he says. "It's very creepy."
Deutsche Demokratische Republik: The Stasi Archives [Adrian Fish]
A Rare Look at the Archives of the German Secret Police [Charley Locke/Wired]