The hidden beauty above us

Right above use at every instant of our lives there is something breathtakingly gorgeous that is sure to appeal to anyone no matter the age or cultural background. Yet we can hardly every appreciate it in its full beauty.

I have recently spent a few weeks in Australia. It was my first experience in the area and I wished to see some of the famous landscapes that central Australia is known for, such as Uluru (Ayers Rock). All of what I saw during daytime was wonderful but it was after sunset that the greatest thing of all came to shine: starlight across the horizon as I had never seen it before.

On the second night of camping I took the long exposure photograph you see below. It took the camera thirty seconds to capture what your naked eyes can marvel at constantly. The campfire that shines brightly in this picture was almost extinct and two of my fellow travellers where chatting well beyond midnight. At least a hundred kilometers away on the horizon, lightning strikes from a storm illuminated the night sky and just about every minute a shooting star flew above us. The bright area across the photograph is our Milky Way galaxy, which I had never seen before.

It was with this view that I fell asleep in a swag outside and it was with that view that I woke up before sunrise to continue the hike. Something you will never forget.

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Stanley realized that all of the constraints were gone

A blink of an experimental concept at its early stages of development

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The ongoing expansion of artistic possibilities

I began getting into photography in the middle of the digital camera revolution in the early 2000s. Back when analogue photography was still common, digital photography opened a whole new world of possibilities, mainly because I knew exactly how the photograph looked right after it was taken and could thus play with colors, depth of field, blurring, composition and more.
Since then, my digital photography was always one with relatively little digital editing and alterations.

It was 2013 when I realized that the tiny camera on my new cell phone has incredible image quality and is even able to include esthetic color features as well as dynamic panorama stiching simply on the fly. The results of my experiments with this during a recent trip to Chicago are composed below.

Meanwhile, after a couple of photoshop tutorials I also realized that manipulating the content of photos (not just colors) has become so easy and accessible. Combining new camera features and software continues to open yet more and more gates to endless possibilities of photographic creativity with millions of people being able to join in and exhibit their great work to the world.

Does that make it easier or harder than before to achieve outstanding artistic work? I leave this question to you without an answer, as I yet need to find out myself.
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Your photography sucks! – A wake up call from 2007

Click here to read the full article and all photographs of this project page!

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It was in fall of 2007. I had only recently moved to Paris for a year of university abroad and had discovered a university photography association which I gladly joined. The concept of the weekly meetings was, each of the 3-6 people that joined brought a couple of photographs either dealing with a certain assigned topic or whatever he/she saw fit. The classes were informal and heavily based on critisicing the artist.
At that time, I was more convinced about the value of my photography much more than I am actually now. I usually had around five photographs on a USB stick with me and we huddled around an old computer screen to discuss them. One afternoon, as I brought in five pictures on a USB stick that I was rather proud of, I got very heavily criticised about my selection for a good. It was painful and I had a hard time understanding why it seemed like everything I showed sucked.

The realisation came later: Whenever you show more than one photograph, each image stands in the context of the rest.

Click here to read the full article and all photographs of this project page!

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Snapshots of our life

Post - Snapshots of our lifeLooking down on Lake Como, Italy – August 10 2013 7:24 pm

Since I started this website in 2009, I have mostly avoided displaying photographs with very personal content, avoided to specify clearly where the picture was taken, when it was taken and even the date I wrote the article. Why? Because I either wanted to abstract the image and emphasize on the general thoughts of the article or simply display what I define to be art in my photography. The problem is, that this also sets bounds to what I share with the world. It is time to once again crack these walls I set up because ideas evolve and photography needs to breathe fresh air.

While browsing through pictures of a recent holiday to Italy I stumbled upon the photograph you see above. It is uncropped and virtually unedited. It was taken just before a gorgeous sunset over the Swiss alps after a long day of driving to Lake Como at the Italy-Swiss border. We were alone, bought two beers at a shop and sat down at café that had already closed. I got up to capture the beauty of the scene and took several photos. I also took a step back, asked my girlfriend to turn around and as she did the mirror of my DSLR flipped up, capturing one of the final instances of our vacation.

Later I realized that this picture is the only one that in my sentiment transmits the beauty and feel of the scene that I felt because its not abstract but instead very personal. Its the context that makes the picture and not just the elements in the composition! The picture is unrefined, simple and does not match with most of my photographs I most appreciate. Still it is my favorite picture from this trip because what it captured is a marvelous unique snapshot of our lives that will live on as we grow older.

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Art and Space

Click here or on the image below to view four images and a short article about a series of pictures I took in 2010. It’s the only time I ever went our shooting in the city of Munich and came back satisfying results. It raises the question of where inspiration comes from, but that is another topic. Enjoy!

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Sebastião Salgado added to Masters of Photography

Click here or on the image below to read a short article about one of the greatest social documentary and (!) art photographers of our time; Sebastião Salgado.

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The power of science and human imagination

Post - The Gift of Human Imagination

This is the space shuttle Discovery, one of the five vessels that the NASA has launched into space and back between 1981 and 2011. Recently, I had to a chance to see an exhibition of this original at the National Air and Space Museum near Washington. Seeing the shuttle in real life was a mind blowing experience.

What strikes me about space exploration goes beyond the fact that mankind successfully traveled into the orbit dozens of times. It’s about the incredible speed at which all of this developed. It was only in 1903 that the Wright Brothers invented motorized flight. In 1969, only 66 years later, mankind stepped onto the surface of the moon and another 12 years until the space shuttle program started flying humans into space and back.

To me, this space vessel is a symbol of what a collective of human beings is capable of achieving when science meets passion, imagination and last but not least political willpower: We can engage in unprecedented endeavors where the impossible becomes possible. Let’s not just take the technology we now live with for granted but understand that at the beginning of all technological revolution stands science and imagination. We can shape this future with our work.

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La Virgen, Aztec Dancers, Mexico – A blend of cultural Identity

It’s been over 500 years since the European colonization of Latin America began. I sometimes wonder if anyone back then thought about, what the identity of the Mexican people would become one day. As a half Mexican, I claim that to some extent, being Mexican has and always will be part of my cultural identity. But what do we Mexicans see ourselves as?

Are we the descendants of Spaniards from Europe who conquered over the wild Indigenous people or are we in our hearts the Indigenous people who mixed with some Europeans? From my personal experience, Mexicans feel the latter and are proud of the rich history of the past. But this history is complex and full of civilizations engaged in brutal warfare over centuries and a Mexican people did not exist before the Europeans came. At the same time, calling someone an “indio” (indigenous person) in Mexico is considered a rude insult. How does that work together?

I have no answer to this question. What I have to offer instead is an image gallery that manifests the split cultural identity that lies within the Mexican people. We see groups of ordinary Mexicans, dressed up as indigenous people, dancing in ecstasy to the beat of the drums how they believe their ancestors danced centuries ago. It’s a spirit of going back to their true nature. And where does this scene take place? Every single day in front of the holiest catholic cite in the country, the Basilica of the Virgen de Guadalope.

Enjoy the newest gallery on this site by clicking here or on any of the photographs below.

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Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp

Two influential men said to me when I was a teenager, that Auschwitz-Birkenau is a place you must have visited once in your lifetime. Neither of them said why.

Two years ago, in late 2010, I finally went to see the remainders of the largest nazi concentration camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Poland. The six hour tour on that cloudy day in November shook me deeply. It was both haunting, depressing and very graphic. We were taking to the prisons, execution sites, and even walked into a gas chamber and the crematory. It was only then that for the first time I felt historically and personally attached to what was the industrialization of death and genocide less than 70 years ago.

I came back to Germany and already had the two pictures in mind that I wanted to post on this website. However, as I prepared the article, I just hat to stop because it made me deeply depressed. Now, two years later, I took the curate to go through the pictures, edit and arrange them for this gallery fighting with tears. But why?

Why should every person have seen this place, though you learn about the Holocaust in school, museums, movies and so forth? Because you need to see it for yourself to fully believe and understand it. You need to grasp the magnitude of the cruelty, atrocities and the senseless systematic killing of innocent people. Most of all, you need to see it to remember it, to tell your children and your grand children that Auschwitz is an important part of world history that must never be forgotten or denied.

Showing you this pictures and sharing this thought is the very least tribute I can pay to the victims of this madness made by human beings.

Click here or on any of the pictures below to access the gallery and the slideshow. There are no captions because I chose the let the pictures speak for themselves.

in memoriam

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