Leipzig, beautiful Leipzig is the biggest city in the German state Sachsen. It’s Germany’s tenth most populous city, and the second most populated city in former East-Germany. It’s been around since the Romans were in play, and has a rich history, as well as a lot of cultural variety to offer, from opera to dark alternative music. I’d never been there before, but I loved what I saw, and am definitely going to return to explore this beautiful city more.
Sascha and I got to know each other through our love for photography and being in a photography group on Facebook together. We had written in the past about how cool it would be to shoot together one day. Of course, Leipzig is not the closest to my home town, so it simply never happened. When I got the idea for Promenade Days, and my travels would bring me to Berlin anyway, the first person I thought about was Sascha. I was happy to make some extra miles to finally meet this old punk.
Sascha is a wanderer, an observer, and has seen quite a bit of the world. He’s had good times and bad, and with every stroke of faith, he feels he learns more of the world and recognizes more about the human condition. His life has made him realize that he can fit in everywhere, be it luxury hotels or the darkest deepest, filthiest back alleys. He’s been a soldier, student, a best boy of a pimp, bartender, private instructor, club boss, drug dealer, street criminal, IT expert, homeless person, psychiatric patient, photographer, and model. So yeah he’s been around. Which of course made excellent conversation during the hours we spent together.
As said, he’s been spending quite some time in front of the camera, so our meeting ended up being the coolest photoshoot I have ever done. As said before, I’m actually not one for posed model shoots, and when I do it, I get bored quite easily because I have the feeling I can’t add anything new to that scene anyway. That’s why I wanted to try this documentary-style photography in the first place. Well, I got proven wrong by Sascha. There is a spot for photographers like me, to work with models even. You just have to find the right model/person, who is open for your type of photography. And you have to keep an open eye, heart and mind yourself. Thank you for this valuable lesson, Sascha.
Sascha invited me to one of the rougher, multicultural parts of town, the Eisenbahnstrasse. As I had some time to kill, I walked my way to Leipzig’s beautiful city center, and slowly made my way there. When I got there, I understood the word rough in comparison to the city center. And I saw the multicultural aspect. And I fell in love. The action, the smells, the liveliness. There was a market going on, on which people shouted at each other, I sat at a bar, which had drunk people, also shouting at each other. From out of nowhere, an Antifa Demo showed up, with people, well, shouting, and I saw a car from a Turkish wedding convoy, which had obviously hit something, because the front was quite off, and smoke came out of the engine hood. The guys got out and shouted at each other. There was quite some shouting going on that day. And I loved it.
Sascha was at the agreed location at exactly the agreed time, and his gentle, smooth nature seemed to slow down the world around me. We went for a coffee and talked about art, trash photography, photographers and models. After that, it was time to go to the shooting spot he had sought out and start shooting. The spot was a semi-abandoned railway lot, which had so many possibilities that we really spent a couple of enjoyable hours, despite the scorching heat. We both had several great ideas we wanted to try, and I have never come home with such a large variety of photos. Where normally, a model gets about 10 photos at most, there were more than 40 I was happy with. A great model makes it easy. Photographers, shoot with this guy, he’s so damn worth the journey.
After we were done at the railway tracks, we walked around in the area adjacent to the Eisenbahnstrasse and shot a couple more street shots. After we were done, Sascha offered to take me to the city center and go and eat something. We went down there, shot some more (damn, it just didn’t stop, lucky me) and ate a lovely dinner at a Brauhaus, accompanied with some great beers. We’d spent quite some time together, so finally, it was time to say goodbye. It was like saying goodbye to a friend I’d known for years.
I spent the evening at the City beach, near the Camper site I had parked my car at. I drank some beers and enjoyed a quiet first evening on my trip. Damn, what a start of this project. Thank you, Sascha.