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Drowned

My project Naturzustand explores how the rich west builds bulwarks against climate change. But elsewhere the situation is worse. This is what Srinagar, a city of almost 1 million, in Jammu & Kashmir, India looked like few months ago (note: all that is gray is inundated). Flood levels of up to 40 meters where measured along the Jhelum river; most of Srinagar were inundated by about 3.70 meters.

The upcoming Naturzustand book will bring together my large format photography and high resolution satellite imagery of natural disasters. Because:

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It’s the end of the world.

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? more…

Postcard from Brussels from :

The Glow of a New Project

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.) more…

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The Story Behind (the Landing of the Adventurers)

One of the most iconic images of my upcoming ‘Socotra’ book is the Landing of the Adventurers. I summons the whole objective of the project, the character of islands, the idea of travel, and the nature of exploration in one single photograph. I would like to share with you how I took that photograph.

It was during my second stay on Socotra that I met two German travellers. Actually, we first met at the airport in Sana’a already – and then again by chance on the beach of Di Hamri the next day. We got along well and they offered to go along with them for couple of days. One evening I invited them over to my hut and cooked pasta with shrimps for them and I generously shared the little wine I had brought along.

The next day, the next day, they planned to go to the beautiful lagoon of Sho’ab. It is quite remote and only reachable by foot or boat. They asked me along. The currents were strong that day and we were all glad to reach shore after an exhausting hour in the waves. Usually, tourists are brought to the far end of the beach, away from the hamlet of Qabahan. I planned to stay in the village for some days to photograph and to create a genealogy so our boatman directly headed for the settlement. Immediately, all the children gathered on the beach to welcome us. I was the first one to get out of the boat and looked back to take pictures of the others wading through the water. On the spur of a moment, one of the local boys saluted my travel companion. I snapped the photograph.

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