My original face
I grew up during the post-war and reconstruction period in Germany, where I watched my parents work tirelessly to rebuild a life for themselves and for us, their children. I absorbed their strong work ethic and social conscious, just as I absorbed the values of the German society around us: diligence and discipline; punctuality and precision; order and perfectionism. Growing up, compliments were rare and complaints not tolerated. My childhood paid tribute to Nietzsche’s “What does not kill you makes you stronger.”
Then I left Germany. My travels as a photographer in the Americas brought me to unfamiliar places, both geographically and psychologically, and suddenly I was forced to question everything that was familiar about myself. Doubt engulfed me and nothing felt certain. It was there that I was confronted with the question: “Why did I pursue a project in the Americas and not in Germany?”
The answer was simple. Away from home, I could be anonymous. I could make mistakes without being judged. I could communicate with other people but rarely faced questions about myself. And when I did, I had a generic, superficial answer.
Until one moment not too long ago when I realized I didn’t want to live that way. That only honesty – with others and with myself – would allow me to move forward. To let go of the constraints of my past. To be FREE.
My photographic project “My original face” is a reflection of who am I today. It reveals my emotions during a time of change and loss that led to a transformation: my acceptance of myself and of the freedom I have found.
It took me 55 years to be myself. How long will it take you?