That’s what I do
for kicks when I’m
feeling my oats.

(‘Testing of
Consumer Goods’ for
‘GEO’ magazine
with assistant
Astrid Bärndal)
> > INTERVIEW (continued)

How did you go about that change?
      When you’re an unknown photographer who
wants assignments, the first thing you need
is at least one good picture story to convince
picture editors of your abilities. For this the
German Museum in Munich came as a natural
choice. It was close, which kept expenses
at a minimum, plus I could work there for
months and always be able to repeat shots
I didn’t get right the first time: after all, most
of my models wouldn’t run away.
     I first had to learn how to use the studio
flash equipment I had bought. Unavoidably,
I made a lot of mistakes due to inexpertise
with the equipment. Besides, I photographed
far too much that was insignificant. Looking
back, I would go about that story in a
completely different way, but at the time I yet
lacked the feel for what really matters.



But obviously the story was a success…
     Yes, it opened a door for me at German
news magazine ‘Focus’. Carola Mink, who
was picture editor with the science and
technology department at the time, liked
my work and gave me my first assignment
as a professional photographer.

And what happened then?
     On the radio I heard a feature on the
anatomist Gunther von Hagens, inventor of
Plastination. I managed to convince ‘Focus’
to let me do a story on him.
     And then, by a lucky chance, this story
got credited with two World Press Photo
Awards. I’d been able to earn my living with
photography by then, but only these awards
were the breakthrough.



After that I even got assignments and new
clients without having to canvass from door to
door. And after that even the picture editors
of GEO magazine took me seriously.

Besides reportage and science photography
there is a third side to your work. What is
that about?

     Oh, that is all about fun, about good
humour, about my sheer pleasure in drollery.
That’s what I do for kicks when I’m feeling my
     I did three of these droll pieces for the
weekly magazine of ‘Süddeutsche Zeitung’:
Living Room, Escape Tools, and Holocene Witnesses.                                    (continue...)