Landsberger Leute has recently received some very good and encouraging feedback, not only verbally but also financially, in the form of a 2 year bursary awarded by the 'Hans-Heinricht-Martin-Stiftung.'
I spotted a man, who I hadn't seen before, one Sunday at church and was intrigued by his dicky bow which from a distance seemed to shine. Curious, I moved in for a closer look and discovered that the dicky bow was actually made of polished stone. Its wearer and maker (Bernd Pollak) told me that he is a stone mason and had made it from polished agate and cut smokey quartz set in gold. Not being the shy and retiring type he immediately agreed to being photographed some time.
I sketched this idea of a head shot right right after our conversation and think it was the first time I have sketched an idea for a portrait before doing a shoot. The resulting photo was quite straightforward... a large diffused light overhead, reflector under the chin and a small spot on the semi-precious dicky bow. Check it out in the gallery.
The feedback to the first showing was very encouraging. The Director of the local Photography club, Mister Bernd Kittlinger who saw exhibition, invited me show the pictures at the annual Local Art Society Exhibition. I naturally accepted and was again surprised and pleased with both the positive feedback as well as from hearing stories of people who had interesting conversations with some of the people photographed.
Building bridges is one of the long-term goals of the whole project.
With a project like this I was wondering where I could first show the pictures. I wanted somewhere which was 'democratic'; a space like a market square, as opposed to a gallery. My first thoughts where either a cafe or pub as they are both neutral and democratic. Democratic they may be but wall space in either is seriously limited. I don't know where the idea came from but it was suddenly blindingly obvious that I should show the first fruits of the project in the local library as a more democratic space would be hard to find.
In the year 2000 with my wife and one year old child I moved to Landsberg am Lech. We expected to stay about half a year or so. However, fourteen years and a second child later we’re still here, binding our roots ever deeper into this rich Bavarian soil, into this beautiful small town with it’s own set of challenges.
As a foreigner myself (an Englishman in Landsberg) I was surprised by the broad diversity of nationalities living here. Previously I had travelled the world photographing people in a wide variety of situations; refugee camps, orphanages, ministerial offices, factories, the streets. Now, instead of traveling wide, I want to travel deep and through photography get to know my town and its people better.