It’s the end of the world – or at least of world’s civilizations. An increasing world population is depending on a shrinking amount of resources. Oil, water, fertile soil, fish grounds – among many other resources – are all near exploited yet we depend on them to survive. Mankind is stumbling into a disaster of inconceivable extent yet we ignore the facts. Not unprecedented, we are in denial of our dooming future – a future similar to what extinguished civilizations like the Sumerian or Maya. With near certainty, we will share their destiny. It is still time to wake up and change our live – but: will we?
It is always exciting to look at the first frames of a new project. Is it any good? Do the images live up to the expectations? As the winter sun of Brussels illilluminated the first role of 120 Ilford Delta 400 film from Ethiopia, I knew I am on the right track. It’s all there: the quiet, humble aesthetic of slow portraits, the aura of people that are firmly self-assured of their duty.
My current project, Apocalypse, is a long and multi-faceted documentary project. I look at foreshadow of a mega-earthquake that scientist expect to hit Istanbul in the near future. I investigate architecture designed to withstand the future – the Onkalo-Project in Finland (designed to last 100’000 years), the Norwegian Svalbard Global Seed Vault, etc. And I portrait traditional leader figures such as village elders, tribal leaders, sheikhs, and the like, whose authority is of a quality that is – to some extend – immune to changes in the sophisticated political organization of modern states. I shot sheikhs in Yemen (as part of my Socotra project), and now priests in Ethiopia – a country that adopted Christianity almost two millennia ago. (In two days, I will fly to South-East Asia (for security reasons I can’t disclose the country yet) and -among others- will continue the project there.)
I am in Istanbul, experimenting with a new project. It’s long and difficult to explain but it goes along the lines of: some human settlements (for example the megapolis Istanbul, located in one of the earth’s most active seismic areas) are built in a way or at a place that is prone to destruction of apocalyptic dimensions. Global change made more humans settle in improper places and accumulate more possessions and assets than ever before, multiplying the hazard. We know that most of the houses in Istanbul won’t stand any more in 50 or 100 years – either because they were replaced by quake proof constructions or because they were ruined by an earth quake. Seismologists say the risk of a 7.6-magnitude earthquake striking Istanbul by 2030 is seventy percent. Worst-case scenarios see 40 percent hit by an earthquake with 5 million people affected. Best case scenarios see ‘only’ 10’000 houses collapse and 1.5 million people affected.
This week I photographed for my project on soldiers with a migration background in the ranks of the German army. In this picture you see signalman Adebisayo Adenawo in paramedic training class, just being taught that the symptoms of undercooling are a violet tinting of the skin color.
Wandergesellen, German for journeying craftsmen: a medieval tradition still continued by some craftspeople. For the last some 600 years craftsmen, after graduating their apprenticeship, go on Waltz for three years and one day, walking the back streets of Europe with a pledge not to come closer to their home town than 50 kilometers. For those few hundred mostly carpenters, roof-tilers, brick layers, and stone masons weaving into a guild, the rules of tradition are rigorous and many – covering clothes, behavior, and language, just to name few.
Last week, I travelled again to one of the far countryside corners of Germany, the Odenwald. I didn’t go there because of the lush valleys, green forest and ginger bread houses but to continue my project on Wandergesellen.
I photographed a Geselle who returned home some half a year ago in his daily life working on the restauration of old Fachwerk houses. It cost me quite some effort to climb all the way on the scaffolding and the roof but when I finally did so, I was rewarded with suberb pictures.
A new story is available on http://claudiusschulze.com: Passengers and their luggage. So far, URI-Navigation doesn’t work so you have to click your way through the page.
I teased a small selection of the pictures some time ago but know I decided to put the work into my portfolio, even though this project is very much work in progress. So far, I only ‘covered’ Antwerpen Centraal but since my travel behaviour is more or less maniac, I am sure to add much more soon.
PS: Btw travel behaviour: Did any of you dear readers aver travel with a cat? This thursday, I have a flight booked /w her. Finally, I am bringing her from Istanbul home to Antwerpen. But I wonder how much Black September will hate flying…
PPS: I had to work a bit to make sure that the fullscreen mode of my website doesn’t crop these pictures. While doing so, I noticed that more than 10 percent of the vistors have a higher screen width than 1680px, the maximum size I uploaded the pictures in. Big faux pas. I will have to re-upload all the pictures. Big hassle since the caption in my Lightroom database and online differ in many cases…
Last week, I had a very good and intense workshop with the French portrait photographer Charles Fréger. Personally, I always considered my portrait work as weak. Don’t worry, I think I learned a lot.
We worked a lot with classical and iconic photographs, with the original prints of the collection of the Foto Museum Antwerpen. It is a overwhelming experience to see all those famous pictures directly in front of you (and in one case, even holding it in your hands: One of Hine’s famous pictures of construction workers of the Empire State Building.)
But first of all, let me show some of the work I produced during the workshop: A portrait series of passengers and their luggage waiting for their train.
A new story is available on http://claudiusschulze.com: Camel Wrestling in Selcuk. So far, URI-Navigation doesn’t work so you have to click your way through the page.
Celebrated as stars and touring on a truck across the country: the keeper of the camel ‘Camel Wrestling League’. Every Sunday from November to March they meet with their camels for a competition in another town along the Turkish Aegean. The most important of all is the tournament of Selcuk-Ephesus.
The keepers enter the arena like Roman commanders. They whip the camels up until the animals lunge onto each other. One camel tries to floor. They wallow in the sand, hiss, and wrestle. The referee counts the ring as in boxing if a camel kisses the floor – and the audience hoots.
A camel can wrestle for fifteen to twenty years, then they are too old. Bulls that do not fight any longer end at the butcher’s.