With writer Charlotte Wiedemann
in front of Putra mosque


5 days short notice
30 flying hours
50 kg of excess baggage
10 days of Malaysia (sans rain forest)
3 drivers
a dozen construction sites
some moderate diarrhea
35 rolls of film

Stir ingredients, simmer slowly at 40°C and
above 90% humidity.

The result? A GEO magazine story about
one of the most ambitious large-scale urban
projects of our time.
     There were certain snags and catches to
the assignment that GEO magazine’s photo
director Ruth Eichhorn gave me on Monday:
‘Can you fly to Malaysia for us on short
notice?’  ‘How short?’  ‘Saturday.’  The first of
them being that due to the short notice I got,


writer Charlotte Wiedemann, who had been
familiar with the subject much longer, had to
do virtually all the planning and scheduling in
     The key problem however was: How to
illustrate a high tech project that’s basically
only low tech construction sites? Though
Charlotte had done a great job and I got photo
opportunities no end, I felt I needed more.
     Once in Malaysia I found it unexpectedly
difficult to arrange my own appointments.
You can’t just phone a Malaysian and expect
to get an instant positive reaction to your
request for an appointment. That would be
considered inappropriate. Custom requires
you to first contact people in writing, a time-
consuming procedure for one who has as
little time on his hands as I had. Then there
is the question of authority: It may prove
difficult to find the right person to address.
Either no one tells you who is in charge, or
the one who is is too modest or too fearful of
his superiors to admit it.