I happened to be in New York with my wife and son, when the terrorist attack happened. Two planes hit the towers of World Trade Center, when I was walking the streets of Manhattan with my 3-year old son. The evening before we had spent some time with New York friends – under the Brooklyn Bridge, with a great view of the World Trade Center Towers. 24 hours later they were gone forever. During the following days thousands of leaflets of missing persons were posted at the entrances of subways, shops and public places. I shot about 250 images of them. Some more days later it was clear that they were all killed during the attack – around 3.000 people.
There is nothing to say about these pictures – just look!
When shooting these images of Venice, Vienna and Beijing, I shook the camera – and at this very moment they revealed their hidden magic.
Venice in Mourning
Venice has become an overcrowded Disneyland. More and more residents are leaving for good, because it is almost unbearable to live there. In September 2020, I photographed Venice before sunrise, with empty streets and places. Only at these moments you can see her heartbreaking beauty. But she was wearing a veil – as if she was in mourning.
Metamorphoses shows the transformation of natural looking images – trees – into something very artificial – technical grids and networks. The transition from one to the other in the image itself is marked by a blurring, as a result of shaking hand movements during the shots. Other metamorphoses take place just like in any other photography: From a three-dimensional structure in nature to a two-dimensional of the photo or the transition from natural trees into a binary system of 0 or 1 on the memory card of the cellphone. Metamorphoses was shot in 2019 at the “Prater” – an alluvial nature reserve in Vienna. I used the most revolutionary machine of our time, a cellphone, and worked with a deliberately wrong application of a panoramic app.
Bridges are symbols of connection – between people, cultures and countries. “The Bridge” is a metaphor for the current political, social and environmental situation: Our common world seems to be falling apart. The pictures were shot in April 2019 in NYC during a thunderstorm on the East River Ferry.
New York skyscrapers are symbols of power and money. They force you to look upwards and feel small. But at rainy days, when you look in the opposite direction, down to the reflections in the puddles, you can see another world, with eerie colors, shapes and distortions, caused by debris, mud, leaves, undercoating, dirt and wind. Even the reflected persons seem to stem from another place and another age. In these pictures, shot 2014/15, New York, is set on fire, distorted, falling apart or being flooded. A world upside down – Apocalypse.
Some inhabitants of Sag Harbor/Long Island wrap their cold-sensitive plants in the fall with jute fabric, to prevent freezing during winter. It is an elaborate and quite expensive process. The wraps are hand-made, customized to the specific shapes of the plants.
The undercover plants remind me of the many undercover investigations I had undertaken as a nonfiction author and journalist, to uncover secrets. I posed as a doctor, as an heir of a very rich man, an export-import trader, a patient, a pharmaceutical salesman, a consulter and some other professionals – to find out, how pharmaceutical companies bribe doctors, how multinational companies evade taxes, how they manage to sell outrageously overprized products, how they corrupt politicians and so on.
The photos were taken in 2016.