Category Archives: Thoughts

How come…?

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!“

A Letter from Dubai

Yesterday I got the following email from a guy from Dubai via the contact form of my page:

Hello christian,

I am an avid follower of WTA tennis since the steffi graf, sanchez vicario, mary pierce, monica seles era. Then came masha, kirilenko, hantuchova, kournikova; then wozniaki, aga,georges, cibulkova,giorgi, cirstea and now the fresh era of eugenie, witthoeft, siniakova,kalinskaya, gibbs and co.

I like collecting pics for my personal album and in no way involved in commercial uses of the images.

Without mincing words, I like to collect pics of the so called beautiful/hot/sexy female tennis players and since we are talking money, i will be interested in special UHQ PICS which are exclusively :1)  unreleased,    2) shows some nice postures like - upskirts, ass, bendovers etc and  3) of players especially of my likings(i have a long list  of famous and less famous players.).

If you are interested christian, then we can talk money and other deatils like watermark etc in the following mails.

I believe women beauty is for cherishing and WTA pics is sort of my passion to collect.

Regards,

R.

My reply was:

Hello R.,
 
as my approach to tennis photography seems to be quite different from yours, I simply don't have any pics that could be of any interest for you.
 
 Regards,
 Christian

I strongly hope to be spared from approaches like that in the future!!!

Preview ’17

“Thanks to the folks at Linz, Nuremberg and Mallorca to grant me 2017 accreditations. I really do appreciate that! PTGP is maybe too big a pond for a minnow like me. So I bought me some tickets for Stuttgart again. Always enjoy the atmosphere there. Let’s see, if I’ll make it to s’Hertogenbosch and Eastbourne again this year. Wimby quali would be nice as well…”
[Feb ’17]

Tennis is a dancer. And a thinker.

“The more I shoot on court photos, the more I come to the conclusion, that tennis is nothing but another dance form.”

Let me explain, what I mean by that.

To dance is to move, alone, with a partner, in a group. One tries to follow certain rules in a most elegant or effective way. But there are entirely free forms as well.

Tennis is to move. Not so often alone, but with a partner or in a group of four. Within the numerous and tightly controled rules one is moving as freely and as elegantly as possible and with the goal of maximun effectiveness.

In eastern philosopBeautiful WTA - Tennishy, awareness, abandon and being nowhere else than in this very moment are high goals. In order to reach that (a life-long approaching process perhaps) one practices to concentrate on one thing. My own breath, the sounds around me, a prayer or mantra or whatever.

In tennis, being in the moment is a high aim. Or precondition. The one thing one is concentrating on is constantly moving and nowadays mostly green.

As a tennis photographer with a camera that cannot take more than three or four pics per second (those of the pros nowadays reach 15 to 20 or more) one is obliged to be very aware of that very moment to push the release button. While outdoors, the light and wind situation has to be considered. What time of the day is it. Did everybody have to wait for hours due to rain delays. And,  generally, how is the mood of the players. Are they healthy.  How long did they have to be on court the days before. Are they close friends or enemies outside. Same or different nation. How’s the audience. Are they fair. If not, is the disadvantaged player intimidated by that or pushed to even fight harder. Are there some kin or friends in the box. Is the chair umpire well accepted or a goal of constant doubt and criticism. Is the hawk-eye-system involved and working well…

All that and much more is to be considered in order to find out the right split seconds to react. Is the chosen setting of aperture, shutter time and ISO best for that shot. Did I sleep and eat well. Do I work in a hospitable and friendly context (like here in Linz for example, where everybody is really friendly and helpful). How long have I been working today. Is my back hurting. Etc. etc.

And, the most important thing: Am I interested. Interest means to be within. If I am not within, I cannot find the essential moments to react on. So I have to watch myself constantly, but without making this little wag a subject of otiose discussions.

So, these are some of the reasons, why I love tennis. And I do, I really do. Tennis is a dancer. And a thinker. And a thriller. You bet!

Traveling again.

How I like the days before the departure to new destinations.

  • Is everything thought of?
  • Photo-gear ok? Batteries charged? Lenses clear and clean?

Then, after the ultimate doublecheck, entering the car, setting up the GPS. From now on I’ll just have to obey that friendly voice, thinking, dreaming, driving.
Plenty of time is arranged, I can make rests where and as much as I want to.
If I drive through the night hours, I can stop and have a nap or two when and wherever I want.
In case of snarl-up’s I take the smaller roads. Often I prefer them anyway.
Driving the highway is to have a goal, taking the small roads is to live here and now.

“Come on! Every point!”

Beautiful summer of sunburn, mosquito bites…

“Besides the WTA tournaments (from which I could cover those in Stuttgart, s’Hertogenbosch, Eastbourne, Luxemburg and Linz) it’s fascinating to watch this sophisticated network of smaller ITF events and to spot the current activities and locations of all the players I had the chance to meet this season along with the coaches, dads, mums, partners, dog owners, juice sellers, other photographers, staff members, umpires and tournament directors – lots of nice chats and easy going communication during this beautiful summer of sunburn, mosquito bites, cruising through awesome landscapes by often taking the small roads, hanging around in some local laundrette once a week, having enjoyable stays on campsites or in affordable private accomodations much cozier than hotel rooms (via ‘Airbnb’), enjoying delicious meals (the menu in these local clubs often is extraordinarily good), nevertheless following an all in all smoothe and by all means non-masochistic dinner cancelling strategy, which had me surprisingly lose 18 kilos – and pics, pics, pics.

Ah, and lots of good tennis as well… Had some nice galleries here, which I will hurry to get in an even better shape, too. It’s fun to select, and perhaps even more fun to get rid of all the useless scrap. Great to see by browsing the pics of the year chronologically, how much I was able to learn about the essence of tennis photography during those months. Looking forward to continuing this learning process in 2017!”
[Dec ’16]