I was born 1960 in Münster, a sedate City in Westphalia Germany. My Parents owned a string of pharmacies and as the eldest child I was expected to take over the family business, but being the only punk in town, a disaster at school and later at business school, my doomed education didn’t bode well for my Father, who later took out large loans against the family home and business before abandoning the lot, including my mother, and leaving her with huge debts. The family lost everything. By this time, I had gone to New York where I was living in a former dance school with artists in Harlem 125th and Lexington, the exact spot where Lou Reed waited for his man.
With no home to go back to in Germany I had to find my path and took on painting and decorating jobs, that I hated, to fund my newly discovered love of photography, thanks to an eye-opening Garry Winogrand 80’s exhibition at the Moma. Highly inspired I started obsessively taking street scene pictures in black and white around Manhattan with my Nikon. This was the start of my lifelong relationship with photography.
I assisted established photographers and learnt the technical skills I was lacking as a self-taught photographer. By 93 I felt I was ready to branch out and created, with my newly acquired Pentax 6×7 camera, a portfolio of simple black and white studio portraits of friends. I moved to London where I pretty much immediately started getting commissions from cultural and fashion magazines. Although I became mostly known for fashion photography, my first love was portraiture and street scenes.
Finally accepting at the age of 57 that I’m no longer the fresh faced kid in town, I left East London for good and moved to the south coast of England in 2017. We chose a small fishing town called Hastings, a totally new environment which led my work down a new visual path. I think it could be described as my mini renaissance.
I’m obsessed with a strip of land along the coast right by our house called Rock-a-Nore,I wander around most days taking pictures of people in this unruly semi-industrial environment.
My light must be of a particular subdued quality so this dictates when I pick up my camera and start walking.
From a relatively young age I damaged my hearing and developed sever tinnitus, this continues to deteriorate, and I can only partially manage with the use of my hearing aid. I bluff my way through conversations, missing so much detail and being a bit of an odd ball, I tend to throw off conversations very easily so this can create problems, it can also be endearing, but as a photographer having an unusual perspective works in my favour. I would say Photography has been the most fluent form of communication in my life and as long as my eyes are working, and I can hold a camera I will keep taking pictures.