As a former activist in various social movements, I have found my access to photography through traveling. From 1997 to 2002 I studied photography in the class of Prof. Arno Fischer at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts Dortmund. Again and again my photographic projects revolve around the lives of teenagers and young runaways in various places around the world.
As a traveler, as a person setting out into the world, I wanted to leave behind the narrowness of my bourgeois origins. In the distance, the traveler meets others setting out, searching, wandering.
In my case, these were often people without a fixed abode, children and young people with the focus of their lives on the street. They had achieved what I had always dreamed of, leaving their parents behind. Even though their freedom was close to the opposite, the predicament of survival, I admired the radicality of their decision.
With the same empathy I accompanied female migrant workers in China who had broken out of the confines of the patriarchal regime of the village, which reserved the chance of a future for the eldest sons. For them, migrant work also means the chance for emancipation and self-determination through their own income.
These experiences shape my approach to documentary photography. I am also travelling in first person and have met such exciting people who pursue their dreams under sometimes most difficult conditions that it would be far from my mind to reduce them to a victim status. My pictures do not celebrate misery and nothing is further from their minds than the tears of the viewer. Instead, they are open and multilayered. The viewer's gaze can wander between different levels or jump back and forth in irritation. Delicate colors, familiarity and closeness meet a harsh reality that sometimes only emerges from the context, small details or the ambiguity of a gesture.
I am a Berlin based photographer. With the support of the Promotion Prizes of the BFF 2003, the Wüstenrot Foundation in 2004 and of the Cultural Fond of the VG Bild-Kunst in 2004, 2008 and 2018, I was able to realize several long-term projects.
Photo book publications: “Karat. Sky over St. Petersburg ”, 2003. “ Mingong. The Pursuit of Happiness ”, 2012. My current book project about young Roma in both Southeast and Western Europe is in the making under the working title“ Another brick in the wall ”.
My photographs have been exhibited in a lot of museums, galleries and festivals in Belgium, Germany, England, France, Georgia, Italy, Portugal, Russia, South Korea, Syria, Ukraine and the USA.