Undercover

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.

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Primavera

This series is a tribute to two great Italian works of art:

The Renaissance painting „La Primavera“ by Sandro Botticelli from 1478 and the music piece „La Primavera“ by the Venetian composer Antonio Vivaldi, written in 1725.

The photos were taken during a railway ride 2012 in Tyrol/Austria and printed in 2018 (archival inkjet on transparent paper, with acrylic paint on the back side).

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The Towers of Babel

And the whole earth was of one language and of one speech. And as the people journeyed from the east, they said one to another, let us build a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven. It was called Babel. And the Lord said: Let us confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. And the lord scattered them abroad upon the face of all the earth.” (Genesis; II:1-9)

The “Tower of Babel” was the first skyscraper and a symbol of arrogance. The skyscrapers of NYC symbolize the opposite of the biblical “Tower of Babel”: People from all over the world come to this place and feel united and at home. Although they speak 170 different languages, they understand each other.

The photos of this series have been shot from a similar angle as Pieter Bruegel the Elder used 1563 in his famous painting “Tower of Babel”: The bird’s-eye view. All pictures were taken with an IPhone on the 10th floor of the NYU Library, at the same spot, between 2014 and 2018, at different times and seasons. There was always the same view, but every single image of the 3.000 pictures was as different as the people in NYC.

The selected 27 photographs are assigned to five different topics: Emotions, Seasons, Daytimes, Cloud and Values.

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Dancing Souls at Canal Grande

For centuries, day by day, as darkness falls, the same ceremony takes place at Canal Grande. The souls of the founders of Venice meet and start dancing and celebrating the beauty of what they have created with their hands and minds. Out of the muddy waters they built a dream-like city, stone by stone, on millions of wooden piles, which they hit into the swamps.

The dance lasts only a few minutes and one must hurry to catch the delicate moments, when Venice shows his magical essence: Water, light and stones. All of a sudden, here and there, the souls show up as flickering lights, flashing and disappearing.

 

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Death of Venice

 

These pictures show an apocalyptic vision. Venice is falling apart, set on fire and flooded. Even the people seem to stem from another place and another age. In the end monstrous pigeons and bizarre human creatures are ruling. In art there is a famous tradition of such visions, best known by the scenarios of the Renaissance artists Hieronymus Bosch or Peter Bruegel the Elder.

I took these pictures after heavy rainfall or acqua alta – they are reflections of the cityscape in puddles: Windows to another world. The eerie colors and shapes are caused by debris, mud, leaves, undercoating, dirt and wind. To show them in the gallery, I turn them upside down. With this tiny trick you see them not as reflections, but as bizarre realities. Fourteen of them will be on show at “Soho Photo Gallery” in New York in December 2017.

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