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Category: Reportage

Fig Trees: Climate Change Heroes?

Last spring, I travelled south, across the Mediterranean to Tunisia. Photographer and writer both on this occasion, I made a reportage for a magazine cover feature on the subject of an unlikely hero in the face of climate change: the Common Fig. Figs seem to resist drought better than almost any other fruit tree, not only providing hope to farmers whose other crops are failing, but also boosting biodiversity in arid lands with their ‘supertree powers’. In addition to words and photography, both analogue and digital, I turned to an alternative printing process to show the range of varieties of this tree, making anthotypes out of fig juice.

Corsican Charcuterie

As autumn draws into winter, plumes of smoke rise all over the island: above slow fires, special preparations of pork are cured. I was commissioned as photographer to travel to Corsica for a reportage about the artisanal production of the island’s famous charcuterie delicacies -figatellu, coppa, lonzu- and the native, semi-wild, ‘Porcu Nustrale’ pigs from which they are made. The assignment, for a German magazine devoted to meat, was not exactly vegan-friendly.

The Last Violet Growers

Tourettes-Sur-Loup, above the French Riviera, was once known as the home of violets. 70 families grew and sent their flowers as far afield as Paris – yet today, only 3 producers remain. I photographed the picking, bunching and crystallisation of these unusual little blooms, whose scent is there one minute – and gone the next.

Bulgaria: A Quest for Roses

This spring, I travelled to Bulgaria’s idyllically-named Valley of Roses. On assignment as photographer for Aramco World magazine, I was to make portraits and a reportage. Yet, as in the South of France, Bulgaria’s climate was out of kilter this year, and what should have been a straightforward assignment about growing Damascus roses to produce rose oil, turned out to be a challenging mission indeed.

Cheese Gold in Provence

It is an invitation that I will treasure for a long time. Proposed not as a photographer, but as a jurist, I had been welcomed to attend the prestigious biennial Provence Cheesemaking Contest to judge the quality of the very best cheeses in the South of France. It was no small honor to be part of the judging process. Cheese is one of the pillars of French gastronomic culture and this event would select and bestow recognition on the region’s very finest cheese-makers.

Croissant Crusader

Editorial photographers’ schedules often depend on their subjects’, and my alarm was set for 04.00 the day I made a reportage about Frédéric Roy. A baker in Nice, Frédéric is known in France and beyond for his crusade to save the traditional, hand-made, French butter croissant from extinction. Wizz Air’s in-flight magazine dedicated a 9-page cover feature to him this month, and I was invited to Frédéric’s bakery to capture all the stages of his croissant-making, and to take his portrait.

Red Valley

Contes, in the hills above Nice, is the last town on the French Riviera with a communist party mayor. As photographer, I visited Contes for the first time to illustrate an article about the current state of the left-wing vote in France in the run-up to the 2022 presidential elections. As the Die Zeit writer interviewed (and I made portraits of) several left-wing residents, it became apparent that disillusionment and contradictions are the order of the day.

Svalbard

Svalbard, 1000 km north of Norway, could not be any more different from the South of France. As photographer and writer, I was privileged, a few years ago, to be invited to join a polar expedition cruise along its western coast. The landscapes were unfamiliar, harsh and striking, and I witnessed, under an eerie sun that never sets, the beauty of glaciers and the incredible adaptability of people and nature to extreme conditions. I also learned that while melting ice leads to catastrophe, it can also lead to hidden treasures – and inspire an extraordinary use of flags.

Detective Bruno’s Périgord

One of the things I love about being a photographer is the opportunity for travel, both in France and beyond, and it was an assignment that introduced me to the Périgord region. Famed for its gastronomy and history, the Périgord is home to the star of the Chief Bruno detective novels – and its creator, Martin Walker. Sent by the New York Times to take photos for an article about Le Périgord through Bruno’s eyes, I discovered a fine line between fact and fiction, and tasted some gourmet dishes and wine along the way…

Mission to the Moon

I had a trip planned last weekend, but as soon I got a call about this Saturday night assignment, I knew that I would move mountains to make it possible. It had it all: creativity, a giant laser, a middle of the night rendez-vous, an international space artist and a first of its kind event worldwide. How could a photographer possibly refuse? It would doubtless be the closest I’d ever get to space travel.