As I get the „How come“ question from time to time, which by the way is perfectly understandable, I decided to write a little text about my motivation to walk this path of tennis photography, especially women’s tennis photography with the focus on „beauty“, whatever that is.
From youngest age on I was too sensitive, brought up by parents who didn’t see the necessity to prepare their son for the struggles of life. As a little child I was often bullied, neglected, overlooked, overfed, too queer to find real friendship. So I was lonely from toddler’s times on. Not that I am still complaining about that, I was lucky to grow up a little and to get over it. But I have to mention it in order to give the bigger picture.
My mother was a protestant hardliner, a Jesus-lover, who should have become a nun, my father a womanizer and casanova with a ginormous libido. Those two decided to fall in love, to found a family and to give life to three children, my two elder sisters and myself.
When coming in the age of *-teen, I weren’t a conqueror, as I would have liked to be, but a witness, a secret admirer. I was watching, the others were living. Very early I gained some mastership in longing and falling in love unhappily. In german the word for longing is „Sehnsucht“, which literally means „the addiction to long for s.th.“ And an addiction it is.
Then I discovered my talent for music. The next twenty years, after dropping out of school, were interesting, full of mess and joy, I dyed my hair red, wore golden sneakers, had lovely girlfriends, drank too much, slept too little (or too much), were on tour with several bands at a time, a life out of the suitcase as if I were a tennis player.
A bass player I worked with woke my interest for tennis. So I witnessed the last years of Graf and Navratilova etc., still not calling myself a tennis fan, but constantly watching here and there.
Then, after too much time on the road and in the beds, after crashing two big loves at a time, simultaneously, there came a big crisis, a suicide attempt, then a therapy, a process of healing and self-discovery. I learned to be myself for the first time. To be at home in my life. Musically I went in quite other directions than the jazzy, poppy, rockn’rolly, rhythmn’bluesy things I did before, started meditating, overtone singing and stuff. Composed a lot. Led some band projects here and there, but without the ambition to make a career out of it. For living I played in hotel bars and places like that, teached a lot, which, after a tedious beginning, pretty soon became something I really liked to do.
Then came the years, where my (at very old age finally divorced) parents each needed some aid and accompaniment on their last paths, first my mother, then my father.
Since my father had been a director at some big company, who had earned quite good money, I inherited some of it, which I, besides musical instruments and equipment, put in some very nice travelling and a rather decent photo gear. I shot pictures on my journeys and in nature, buds contre-jour and so on. Got some compliments from artist-friends, always combined with warnings, that there would be almost no perspective in trying to make some money out of it.
After a six-year regular educational job as keyboard teacher for primary school children had ended, I had a creative boost and wrote a whole repertoire for a large band project with a five-strong horn section and all the trimmings. When the time came to give birth to that baby by contacting musicians and so on, I fell into a deep depression, which lasted almost six months. I finally realized, that I never had been too eager to be on stage, the other musicians had spent dedicating their lives constantly to their work, organized in cliques, while I had been wandering around, sitting at this camp-fire or another, never being really a native, a tribe-member somewhere, always kind of an alien, a searcher and a stranger. As I finally had to admit to myself it would have needed an energy to help this project up which I didn’t have anymore.
So I did nothing much than to sleep from autumn to spring. In the end I felt that my heart would stand still soon if I didn’t find a way out of this tunnel and so I started thinking. Years ago I had begun to watch tennis more and more, bought the apps of Eurosport and Tennis-TV, started to visit tournaments in person, Stuttgart, Luxembourg… And I loved to make good photos. So the idea was to combine those two fields of interest, which I did, accompanied by the vision of seeing the images published in high quality photobooks some day. One thing led to another and now I am working hard to get the presentation of my photos in shape in order to contact some publishers and sponsors, hoping to find some interest and support for my vision somewhere. From my parents, the nun and the gigolo, I inherited the splits between strong morality and the deep love for women’s beauty. As the development shows, there is some hope, that the chance which lies in this kinda schizo perspective is recognized by more and more of the players in order to get even more interesting and beautiful results. Having started with photographing the girls I am nowadays looking to shoot the ball itself and everything around that happens by accident, as lovely as it might be. It’s not personal at all, it’s a service at the altar of presence and beauty. If one has experienced life in it’s darkest, greyest aspects, standing now at the brink of getting old himself, one learns to cherish every moment, everything which stands for the other side of the street, the sunny side. Life is short and precious. Let’s celebrate it, while we can.
So: „Three minutes.“ „Two minutes.“ „One minute.“ Time!“