Born in 1977 | Married | Father of a son | Masters degree in history and politics | Doctoral degree in modern history | Author of two published studies in modern history | Compulsory reader | Passionate traveller | (Adult-)Lifelong photo-wonk
»Please excuse my bad English but it is the only one that I have.«
That was what an old Italian colonel I once met at a NATO base in Kosova opened his deliberations with. I would like to ask for the same leniency towards what I have to say on this website for the reason of maximum accessibility in the language of Shakespeare. Born in rural Upper Austria altough near to a big region and family shaping industrial plant I completed an apprenticeship as a carpenter in the mid 1990s. That particular choice was for the lack of any better idea after I had to face not being a natural fit for the federal polytechnic I visited for one year with rather limited ambition and success.
While I was in the midst of my apprenticeship a good many of my friends at home went off to university in Vienna. Having developed into a history buff by the example of my grandfather I decided to sit for university entrance exams and followed my friends to the capital. There I earned a masters degree in history and politics as well as a doctorate in modern history.
Coming from a family where every male member wielded some sort of photographic camera (mostly SLRs) when I was a kid, I guess it was a matter of time before I had to develop an deeper interest in picking up a camera myself and snapping away. When I did around when I was 17 my grandfather gave me one of his cameras, a fully manual Practica MTL 5 SLR and a 50mm lens made in the German Democratic Republic.
Growing up at home on a steady diet of classic Hollywood cinema I had a pretty clear idea of perspective and composition. Much to my regret today for a long time I showed no real interest in the technical intricacies of how to transform that idea into a proper photographic image. So in the last twenty plus years I have made every photography mistake possible at least twice over but at long last today I guess I am somewhat over the hill.
I never managed to restrict my photography to one specific genre besides it being documentary, i. e. not arranged to taste (that is except for a handful of portraits I have taken), not cropped, undoctored in post, and showing some present and observable slice of visual reality. I dont care if it is a social scene or circumstance, a portrait, a detail, a landscape, some intersting shadow, a nice reflection or anything else that is there, captures my attention, and intrigues me – I’ll take it all.
A VISUAL HISTORY OF THE PRESENT
As a trained historian and as a great admirer of Timothy Garton Ash’s personal brand of writing – as George F. Kennan once observed – histories of the present along the borders of journalism and historiography, I am captivated by the notion of integrating an accurately defined form of documentary photography into that concept and fiddle about on a theoretical and technical framework in that regard …