Monthly Archives: May 2008

Africa Dispatch: Tanzania

Dear all,

It’s raining. Thick, heavy drops are shooting from the sky.
Once more the rainy season has caught up with us and there seems to be no escape. Several times every day the unbearable, tropical heat is broken by heavy rains.
We are just south of Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania. The Land Rover is parked under a palm tree on a beautiful white beach. It sounds like we are having a vacation, but we’re not.
Chiho and I are working hard on our computers and also on the Land Rover. We just returned from Amsterdam, where we traveled for one week in order to pick up my ‘Honorable Mention’ at the World Press Photo Award ceremony. We attended lectures and presentations by other photographers, and I was invited to present some of my own work. We also met with editors and other photography people, so the trip was half work and half pleasure. We stayed for a couple of days on an air mattress at our friend Vero’s place, where me made good use of her super fast wireless internet connection. After many months in Africa the experience of a DSL connection can be quite magical. We also met up with my parents who came over from Germany, partly in order to deliver some formal wear for the award ceremony. Even the Prince of The Netherlands was present at the event, so I was happy for not having to stumble on stage with washed out jeans and a faded old T-shirt.
This year’s World Press Photo Awards are somewhat of a departure from previous competitions, as there were less pure news pictures chosen, typically coming from one of the wire services, but more well composed, moody, and photographically sophisticated stories and images that showed a clear authorship by a single photographer. It seems that slowly the walls between what is still known as photojournalism, documentary photography, art photography and commercial photography are crumbling and I think that this is a good thing. Many of the prize winers this year are very young photographers, young both in age and also in their approach. I feel very proud to be part of this new generation of people who are not so much thinking in categories any longer. …

Another group of photographers I am very honored to be part of is this one:
About 22 photographers collaborated in a group show and book project called “Battlespace: Unrealities of War” that became one of the most powerful visual statements about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that I have ever seen.

The Iraq book, both the English version and the German version keeps making a silent, but persistent noise in the publishing world and among readers and I am very happy that several publications wrote reviews about it. The latest could be found in the Tages-Anzeiger Zürich, and it looks like this:

The book was also awarded at the Photo District News (PDN) photo annual as one of the best books of 2007.
Here the book again in English:
And in German:

Before I forget, and before you delete this message, because it became once more terribly long, please check out some new pictures and video on my blog:

Apart from shooting and editing video and still pictures, Chiho was also working hard on her own blog, which can be seen here:

In Japanese, the whole thing looks like this:

A map of our travels can be seen here:

My last dispatch came from Cape Town in South Africa.
We left the city early one morning and made our way down to the Cape of Good Hope, where we took some pictures with the Land Rover, proud to have reached this important point in our journey. The following day we also  visited Cape Agulhas, the largely unknown most southern tip of Africa, which is located several hundred kilometers east of the Cape of Good Hope.
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