[Photographer, b. 1968, Remscheid, Germany, lives in London.]
I think it’s much more radical to see and show things as they look instead of making them somehow subversive through alienation or estrangement.
I am interested not in individual readings, but in constructing networks of images and meanings capable of reflecting the complexity of the subject.
The true authenticity of photographs for me is that they usually manipulate and lie about what is in front of the camera, but never lie about the intentions behind the camera.
It would be so easy to lose the plot now. It’s not about achieving something for its own sake, and taking pictures for their own sake. But to make conscious decisions and choices, and it includes this constant questioning—“Why am I taking pictures?” Because really, the world is... it has pictures enough. I mean, there are enough pictures out there.
My staged work looks so real that people actually take it for documentary. But, in fact, that is my intention, to disguise the manufacturedness of it. Half of my work, or probably more than that, is staged.
For me, a good portrait shows the fragility and humility of the person, and at the same time a strength, a resting in themselves.
I got rid of everything that’s artistic in portraiture: interesting lighting, recognizably “special” techniques, and all the different styles that divide us from the subject and are usually considered to be enhancements of the subject or the picture.
My work is aimed at creating a world in which I wish to live. Consequently, it is about creating ideals with the aid of realistic techniques. My most fundamental motivation is a desire for unity, fusion and sense of community.