In the monastery Lungdang at an altitude of 3740m buddhist nun Rigdol meditates every evening. She "inhales the evil in the world and exhales it purified."
2016 – Tsum Valley/Nepal
Students enjoying themselves and the cherry blossoms in the Inokashira Park.
1995 – Tokyo/Japan
Players of the football team "Banana Cross" for mentally impaired children and youths. They train regularly and compete in tournaments.
2017 – Regensburg/Germany
Singer Andrea Bocelli in his house in Tuscany. His mother Edi is cooking his favorite dish: Spaghetti aglio, olio e peperoncino. With extra garlic.
eary 2000's – Forte dei Marmi/Italy
Inge Natoli, 92 years old, emigrated 1948 from Cologne/Germany to the United States. Because of love. She practices and teaches synchronised swimming, her solo performance is the highlight of the show. Her motto: "Do your thing as long as you can.“
2014 – Sun City/USA
Nomadboy with pinecone
2006 – Mongolia
Portrait of my mother Kiyoko during chemotherapy after the removal of her breast cancer. Her motto: “I will get through this, I can accomplish it.“ She was right. In April she will turn 81 years.
2004 – Munich/Germany
German actress Martina Gedeck on the set of the film shooting of "The wall". Director Julian Poelsner masterly made the novel of Marlen Haushofer into a film in which a woman suddenly has to survive on her own in the mountains behind a unvisible wall.
2010 – Dachstein Range, Austria
Dr Tenzin Choedrag, former personal doctor to the Dalai Lama. He wanted to become an amchi (tibetan for physician) since his early childhood. He grew up in poor rural conditions but managed to become on of the four personal doctors of the Dalai Lama in 1956. Dr Choedrag suffered many years of imprisonment, torture and forced labour after the flight and exile of the Dalai Lama. He survived and after he could heal sick chinese officers he continued to practice as a doctor in a prison hospital. “Only with love and compassion we are able to make our worst enemies change their minds.“ In 1980 he managed to get to Dharamsala, the seat of the tibetan exile government. There he continued to be the personal doctor of the Dalai Lama and became head of the Mentsikhang, the center of tibetan medicine. Dr Choedrag passed away in 2001 at an age of 79.
1998 – Dharamsala/India
Fans at a show of "Die Toten Hosen"
2008 – Friedrichshafen/Germany
Rockabilly dancers in Harajuku
2004 – Tokyo/Japan
After years of life in evacuation this couple returned to their home village in the highly radioactive contaminated woods in the north of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. Reactor 4 was the site of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. They collect mushrooms, fruits and game for their food. Local authorities gave them permission to spend their remaining years at home.
2005 – south of Gomel/Belarus
Bertrand Piccard, adventurer and psychiatrist. Together with copilot Brian Jones he accomplished the first non stop flight around the world with a balloon in 1999 in 19 days and 20 hours. After two failed attempts. His next project was the circumnavigation of the globe with the solar powered, long range aircraft „Solar Impulse“ in the years 2015-2016. His foundation „Winds of Hope“ helps children suffering from the mostly unknown disease Noma in Africa.
2000 – Munich/Germany
Jailhouse cooks. Men of the kitchen staff in a correctional facility. They can use their time of confinement with work or job training to become a cook. One of them taught himself to prepare a pasta meal with fresh tomato sauce with only a water boiler as a tool in his cell.
2011 – Freiburg i.B./Germany
Three generations of the Okawara family, organic farmers in the Fukushima prefecture. After the big „Tohoku Earthquake“ in March 2011 over 20.000 people died due to the following tsunamis, whole coastal areas were devastated. The nuclear catastrophy in the power plant Fukushima Dai-ichi contaminated vast areas of land and sea with nuclear fallout and radiation. The fields of the Okawara family were miraculously nearly spared from contamination. Since then they fight the consequences and stigma of producing vegetables from Fukushima. They test every crop thoroughly, initiated neighborhood help and cooperatives, founded and built the centre „esperi“ (Hope). Their love for their homeland, organic agriculture and their fellows is powerful and sweeping.
2013 – Tamura/Japan
Winter in Ushguli in the Caucasus mountains. Located at 2100m altitude snow remains here for six months. Svaneti defense tower houses, the Lamaria church and its surrounding abundance of natural beauty made it to a UNESCO world heritage site. The vast and empty mountains are perfect for skitouring and hiking.
2019 – Svaneti/Georgia
At the age of fourteen Hannah was diagnosed with leukemia. The buoyant, sports loving girl was suddenly robbed of her normal life. After nearly a year in a clinic she was cured, but suffered physically for many years from the after-effects of the chemotherapies and mentally from the trauma. Her family gave her comfort and solid ground in those years. She began to write down her phantasies in which she escaped her sad reality. Meanwhile she took matters in her own hands again, finished shool and began to study medicin. She aims to become an oncologist to prepare cancer patients better for the effects of chemotherapies. „Although I am only 20 years old I do know how worthy life is.“
2019 – Germany
Dr Jane Goodall, british primatologist and anthropologist. She founded the Jane-Goodall-Institute for the protection of primates and their habitats, is United Nations Messenger of Peace since 2002, runs the Great-Ape-Project which fights for certain rights of this species and tries to create more awareness in the fight against climate change. Yesterday was her 86th birthday but despite her age she continuously travels the world for her matters.
2010 – Munich/Germany
Alas, student from Syria, practices parcour on a meadow close to the shelter where he was placed with fifteen other fellow countrymen after their flight via the Balkan route. Author Wilhelm Warning and publisher Caroline Sieveking made a book in which every single one of them is documented. Which makes it possible to understand more about their individual history, families, dreams, fears and thus also more about the big tragedy of our time: displacement, flight, civil wars and exile.
2016 – Bavaria/Germany
Skialpinists ascending while morning sun lights up the Rimpfischhorn, 4198m. Spring is the ideal time of year to climb the highest peaks in the alps on ski and ride them down on corny snow. The crevasses are still covered with snow, temperatures are bearable and the danger of avalanches is low if you start before sunrise.
2019 – Valais/Switzerland
DJ Sumirock aka Sumiko Iwamuro, 82 years old, works since sixty years in the family run restaurant „Muro“ in Tokio, well known for its dumplings called Gyoza. At the age of 77 her good friend Adrien le Danois encouraged her to learn to DJ following her long kept love for music. Now she spins the turntables in clubs like Decabar Z in Tokio and also travels the world as DJane to gigs in Paris and New Zealand. She also kept working in the restaurant her father founded. A former jazz drummer who never wanted her to play an instrument as he knew how hard a musician‘s way to make a living can be. Sumiko-san fulfilled two of her dreams: to make music and travel the world. Her advise: „Chances are there every day. Don’t give up, and always try something.“
2017 – Tokyo/Japan
A patient with dementia enjoys a moment with a carer after she spontaneously danced with a group of young people which was rehearsing in a park. She lives in „Baan Kamlangchay“, also known as Alzheimer village, founded by the Swiss Martin Woodtli in 2003. Patients get 24/7 individual care and live in houses in a small village in the outskirts of Chiang Mai.
2014 – Chiang Mai/Thailand
German soccer player Thomas Mueller in the final training before his debut in the national team. After the tryout against Argentinia he sits on the press conference stage with Diego Maradona, coach of „La Albiceleste“. The legendary Maradona doesn’t recognize the very young Mueller as a player and initially refuses to take part. Only a few months later Mueller scores the first of four goals against Argentinia in the quarterfinals of the World Championships in South Africa where he became top goalscorer. Thomas Mueller was part of the team which won the final match against Argentinia in Rio 2014 to become champions in the World Cup.
2010 – Munich/Germany
My son Finn catches sunlight in a piece of ice he took from a creek and bounces it to my face.
2011 – Zillertal/Austria
Sister Hannamaria and Sister Franziska holding onions and onioncandies which they produce in the kitchen of the Abbey Waldsassen following a traditional recipe. The candies are supposed to be good against coughing and hoarseness. The nuns are sisters of the Cistercian Order who aim to „live a life of prayer, lection and labour in the tradition of the founder of the Cîteaux monastery.“
2016 – Waldsassen/Germany
Daybreak over the Isar Valley.
2014 – Icking/Germany
Tibetan refugee children in a SOS Children‘s Village near Leh in Ladakh. They all lost parental care. Either their parents are gone, had to remain in Tibet or went far away to earn money. The children‘s village makes an enormous effort to provide education, shelter and secureness. A sponsorship supports this work a lot.
1998 – Leh/India
One of thousands of maple trees which are centuries-old. They began to grow on pastures in the Karwendel mountains which probably lay fallow during the Thirty Years‘ War between 1618-1648.
2009 – Eng/Austria
Johanna lives with rheumatism since she was six years old. Despite many limitations and a long history of therapies she never allowed the disease to become the negative focus of her life. Instead she strongly believes that she owes her positive self-confidence because she „learned to be thankful for what I have and when I feel well.“
2019 – Stuttgart/Germany
Sunrise with a good friend.
2015 – Cabo de Gata/Spain
Chumba Lama had to leave his home in a remote valley in the Himalayas under very unfortunate circumstances. His uncle took him to Kathmandu, where, at the age of seven, he had to survive as a street child as his uncle died shortly after their arrival in an accident. Until he was taken care of by a buddhist monk. He was given shelter, education and began his spiritual journey under Yogi Shamar Rinpoche. Chumba Lama became a internationally renowned Yoga master, lives with his family in Germany. He managed to travel to his place of birth, where he met his mother thirty years after his sad parting. In her heart she seemed to have known all the time that her son was alive. Shortly after the reunification she died but not without his promise to support the people in the valley. Which he does until today.
2017 – Oy-Mittelberg/Germany
My japanese grandmother Yasu lived to an age beyond 90 years. She grew up in a small village in Kyushu and was, as my mother told me, quite progressive for her time, rode a bicycle and decided to study. Nonetheless, she got to know my grandfather Goro only at the day of their wedding. I remember very well, when she told him humorously in their kitchen in Tokio, sitting together for a sake, that she would get divorced after 70 years of marriage. She couldn’t stand his stubbornness anymore. And laughed. He didn’t.
1996 – Japan
Skinny dip in a mountain lake at an altitude of 2580m. The „Wettersee“ is located in the Geigenkamm mountains between Oetz-and Pitzvalley and is usually frozen at most times of the year.
2014 – Tyrol/Austria
Babette Hainzperger, 84 years old, wanted to get a driver’s license, when her husband deceased in 1975. However the authorities refused it claiming that she was already too old. She, who lived on a isolated farm, taught herself how to drive a tractor. Since then Babette could run her errands on her own and make her weekly visits to the graves of her husband and son. In winter she covered the hood of her beloved vehicle with a blanket. „I feel so free when I whiz by the fields and meadows and can see something of the world. Which flowers are in bloom, occasionally a deer or a fox. It is not good to always stay at home.“
2002 – Kainoed/Germany
Night in the Tian Shan mountains. The vast plateau around the Chunkur-Kel Lake is far away from any settlements, at an altitude of 3600m in the middle of the Ala-Too mountains. You can walk for days without any human encounter. The high and glacier covered peaks are mostly unnamed and partly unscaled.
2019 – Kyrgyzstan
Amanda and Winardi Reiter got to know each other 2013 on the internet. At that time Amanda went by the name Hermann and Winardi lived in Indonesia, far away from upper Bavaria. Hermann was at that time a "woman in a man´s body". When the two met in Indonesia his long journey had ended. Winardi never decided his or her own role, man or woman. Thus Winardi and Winardis family welcomed Hermann with such open minds, acceptance and love that he decided to take his final step. He underwent a sex transformation and became physically and officially a woman. Amanda and Winardi married shortly after and live together with their two Galahs in Bavaria.
2019 – Lenggries/Germany
Since the lockdown also austrian actor, cabaretist and director Josef Hader can’t perform live, so he shows selfmade videos and retrospects from his long career instead. I occasionally think of him in the role of Stefan Zweig in the wonderful movie „Farewell to Europe“ and his performance in „Arthur and Claire“, in which he acts as a man stricken by cancer who travels to Amsterdam to die, but finds life instead. In an interview with the magazine „News“ he is asked: „In the current situation, what helps you not to lose your courage, besides writing?“ „It is helpful to think about my grandparents. They witnessed the First World War as young people, in the Second World War they were in their fifties, the years in between were not so amusing. Maybe they would have laughed about our problems.“
2017 – Munich/Germany
Daybreak on the peak of the Lusen in the Bavarian Forest National park. Legend has it that the countless granite boulders on the summit were brought here by the devil who wanted to protect his treasures he stole in the world. A real treasure are the jungled woods in the area which evolved according to the principle „Let nature be nature.“ 2016, Bavaria/Germany
2016 – Bavarian Forest/Germany
My japanese grandfather Goro was born 1899 in southern Japan in a small village and moved to Tokyo with his wife Yasu after he studied law in Kyoto. When I finally, after many years of living in Germany, traveled to my mother’s home town in 1986 he came to pick me up at the airport. Excited as he was he ran to a tall, blonde backpacker presuming it was me. Whenever we met in the years to come we laughed about that mix-up. He took me to his favorite places in summery hot and humid Tokyo, walking without effort, but proud and sharp in his suit. Every evening he heated up a large glass of sake in the microwave. He drank his Atsukan (hot sake) with relish while his face reddened slightly. Never did he forget to mention how good this routine was for his health. Nobody believed him. He passed away at the age of 94
1992 – Tokyo/Japan
Participants of a 24 hour hike in the Black Forest. What I first presumed to be a freak event turned out as an almost transcendental borderline experience. It showed me how to mutually break down mental and physical barriers as well as feeling pure happiness. Starting and finishing together as a group after 24 hours, 67 kilometers and 2000 vertical meters is truly mind-blowing and unforgettable.
2014 – Black Forest/Germany
These four athletes of the Kazakh synchronised swimming team were waiting for their training slot at the Swiss Open 2004, where I was on assignment to cover the Swiss Duo on their way to the Olympic Games in Athens. When I spontaneously asked the girls from Central Asia if I could take some pictures with them it seemed that they had been training for exactly this moment. This photo got a full page in the magazine and hangs as a big print in our studio.
2004 – Vaduz/Liechtenstein
A bearded vulture seems to greet us with a majestic nod of his head. In the alps the species was extinct until a reintroduction began in 1986, like here in the national park Stilfser Joch.
2013 – Trafoi, South Tyrol/Italy
Teru Atsuta, a 83 years old farmer, stands in front of her rice paddy next to the New International Airport Tokyo in Narita. Around 50 years ago the construction and forced alienations of land was extremely controversial and thus accompanied by fierce protests of the local people and leftist student groups. Finally no more expropriations were allowed. Atsuta-san was offered seven million Euros for her 30x30 meter paddy. She declined. It would give her more joy coming regularly to her paddy and pulling of weeds. Every airplane which taxies from the terminal to the runway has to make a detour around her paddy. „We fought a righteous struggle and won it.“ says Atsuta-san and laughs at the passing plane.
2004 – Narita/Japan
The left leg of Hugh Culverhouse suffered a stress fracture when he was 19 years old. Since then it is some centimeters shorter which led to severe hip joint problems. The 64 year old Hugh can only walk with crutch and cane. But he runs marathons. His personal record is 3:21 hours. The Briton is also a cyclist who finished such contests like Race Across America, using mostly his right leg only.
When the Dalai Lama noticed that I had a ringflash on one of my cameras he asked me: "What is that? I have never seen this before." I explained him that the flashlight travels exactly in the direction of the lens and thus creates a shadowless light on the face. "Oh, but than I have to take off my big glasses, otherwise the light will reflect!" he said, laughed and positioned himself in front of the camera. Author Gerti Samel just had finished her interview and his bureau had not planned time for portrait photos. But the ringflash had made him curious. A few years later, I had the honour to photograph him again, this time in Innsbruck, without my ringflash. But yet he asked me, from which occasion we would know each other, as he seemed to remember me. When I told him the ringflash anecdote, we both laughed
The water of this creek in the Tian Shan mountains flows another 1500 vertical meters down to the Issyk-Kul lake. The second largest mountain lake in the world is also named „Heart of the Tian Shan“. Parts of the historic Silk Road passed along its southern shore where the climate and mountain air is so pleasant that even Yuri Gagarin came here for recreation after his flight as first man to space. We filled the springwater of this creek on our bottles. It was cold and delicious.
When Dante Boscolo lost his toy car as a child he began his diving career in the canals of Venice. The Gondoliere is well known in his hometown for his diving skills. Whenever something valuable falls over board he is ready to recover it from the grounds of the laguna: mobile phones, purses, jewellery and sun glasses. "Il Maestro", as he is also known, is sure that one day he will find one of the rings that the doges committed to the waters as a sign of the marriage between Venice and the sea. "I will resurface as a rich man."
Campino, singer of the band Die Toten Hosen, is lounging in a chair while clicking glasses with pianist Esther Kim. Just a few minutes ago they played a sold out venue. As always so fervently as if there was no tomorrow. Which is of course so demanding that phsysiotherapist Florian Cordes is part of this perfectly organised wonderwandergroup of musicians, roades, band-and tourmanagers, technicians, drivers and security during the tour. And of course a set of terrycloth bathrobes and some champagne.
We encountered this siblings in the early morning on their long way to shool in the remote Tsum Valley. There are no streets, either you walk or ride. Animals are not allowed to be killed and it is forbidden to bring meat into the valley. The distance to the next road is a three to four day´s march. There is nothing to be romanticed about this hard and simple life and the breathtaking nature can be a threat as well. But this region is also called "Valley of Happiness". Author Titus Arnu and I wanted to know why and went on our journey to the Himalayas. Which resulted in a photobook and a travelogue.
2016, Ngakyu, Tsum Valley/Nepal
Fiftieth and last but of course not least speck of light. I very much enjoyed the self-imposed daily routine of posting one of my pictures from the archives. It is time to look ahead although the crisis is not over. In this spirit it is a good opportunity to show this portrait of lyricist Nora Gomringer. 2010, Bamberg/Germany