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About me, myself and I

I like to describe myself as a visual storyteller with a preference for stories of people and regions that are ignored by the general public. This definition is correct for at least part of my work. Of course, I have also created news stories, portraits, business reports, travel essays, crisis photography and advertising shots. For photographers with my background, this is probably not a very unusual mix of assignments in order to survive financially. In addition, I founded a communications agency and an online newspaper together with my wife, but also sold them again. My long studies I did at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and the University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Dortmund.

As you can read online, I have won a number of awards (most of which I applied I don't won), of course I have worked as a photojournalist for many well-known journals and magazines (but not all the time), my work is exhibited internationally and books with my pictures have been published, as monographs or together with other authors. I can't really explain it all - my mother says I'm just a Sunday child. 

Somehow I was appointed to the German Society for Photography (DGPh) and the German Photographic Academy (DFA), and my colleagues at the VISUM agency (which used to be very well-known) took me in. We parted ways after about 8 years and my colleagues at the laif agency gave me shelter - to this day. I'd be happy to spare you a detailed list of my life stages and supposed successes - in my opinion, such a list would be too influenced by human vanity. All people are special, even without a detailed CV. 

In 2011, I was lucky enough to become a substitute professor at Dortmund University of Applied Sciences by chance. I didn't actually wanted the job. When the position was advertised, I was very happy because I thought I would soon be out of the job. But my wife and good friends convinced me to submit an application. Now I'm still at Dortmund University of Applied Sciences, as a professor.

Thank you for that! It's the best thing that could have happened to me. Working with young, motivated and talented people every day inspires me immensely - as a person and in my own work. It has taught me to question my own working methods and prejudices in a structured and critical way, as well as to give up privileges. I am happy about all these people who allow me to accompany them on part of their life's journey, who let me share in their wishes, joys and fears. When I see how they expand their personal boundaries with a lot of work and effort, discover new paths and develop new perspectives, it fulfills me. Not that I have an answer to all questions or that I know how to teach photography. But I enjoy working on all questions with the students, exchanging viewpoints and arguments. Some of the students have now become part of my extended family. 

There are questions that I am asked more often as a photojournalist, here is a short summary: 

How did you start taking photographs? 
It's a long story that has a lot to do with my wife. To cut a long story short, I never wanted to be a photographer when I was young. Comic book artist was my dream job - but when I was 19, I only got a job as a photo assistant in Brazil. 

How many countries have you traveled to and which is your favorite country? 
Unfortunately, this is not a statistic that I keep. I have been working as a photojournalist for about 30 years and the country I am in is always my favorite. 

What is the most dangerous place you have been to?
Another category that has no meaning in my life. Life is finite and therefore always deadly. I hope that my work will make the world a little more positive and that injustices will be mitigated if I treat everyone with the same respect and empathy.