This one was my first major picture story.
I had just started my career as a freelance
photographer in early 1996, and I wanted a
good story for my portfolio in order to
introduce myself to picture editors. Besides,
I needed to experiment with new lighting equipment I had purchased.
At that time I lived near Munich, so the
German Museum came as a natural choice.
The museums proximity offered two
advantages: there were no travelling
expenses to cover, plus I was always able
to go back and shoot again when anything
had gone wrong due to my inexpertise with
After securing the cooperation of the
museums PR department I could get to work
with the extravagance of no time limit!
To warm myself up to the task I took a full
week to get to know the museum from top to
bottom, a tour of 17 kilometers!
I used filing cards to catalogue all I
wanted to shoot, there must have been
hundreds of them! After that I went to work
every morning at 9 a.m., with a handful of
cards and a hand-cart of equipment: cameras,
tripods, strobes, cable drums, black cloth
I worked off my cards for a full three months.
Three months! Way too long from todays
perspective. Too many of the things I shot
were insignificant, too many objects
irrelevant. I yet had to learn to separate the
grain from the chaff, to extract the essence
of a subject. But still, experience could
be gathered from even the most irrelevant
photo I took.
Of course theres a lot I would
differently today. For one, I went to town on
colorful lighting because I thought it was
creative. Fortunately this websites edit of
the story looks far more natural than the one
I did at the time.
Anyway, the reportage got me my first
assignment with the science and technology
department of German newsmagazine FOCUS.
Ever since, science and technology have
remained at the center of my work.