Portrait of twin sisters Alice and Andreia Contreiras shot in Cape Town , South Africa 2019.
I saw this beautifully dressed gentleman waiting at the bus stop in Kreuzberg with his full suit, hat and cane. His posture and poise were regal, he looked like a character from an old film. Ibrahim stood out in that busy street, most were casual in shorts and t-shirts holding ice creams smoking cigarettes and in company, he was alone. I had seen him around the neighbourhood and wanted to approach him but I held back, something told me he probably wouldn’t want to be photographed and as such I hadn’t taken the chance. Weeks later I saw him again. I spoke German and he was kind, soft-spoken and agreed to a portrait. We moved to the side of the street facing the park and after three shots the bus halted in front of us and off he went. This was the third shot.
Ibrahim in Berlin, August 2018.
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I met Conny as I left the station, I was waiting for a friend outside when she walked by, and I stopped her asking if I could photograph her. It was a hot day during Berlin summer, but as life goes on and reroutes our paths, we only met some time in November; the sweltering temperatures had iced, the winter had arrived.
Her apartment was in a charming old building in Neukölln, she told me she moved in long ago. She has been a social worker for many years and seemed satisfied and tired, that kind of work is rewarding and taxing, she said. Conny is beautiful, of course, she’d had a hard road, for reasons of privacy I won’t get into that, yet what I found so enigmatic about her was not only her beauty and gentleness, but a certain kind of wisdom and melancholy in her eyes. It was real, raw light that came through her, and with it, a darkness.
I felt, when I looked at her, how I feel when I look at the crescent moon.
Conny in her Berlin apartment.
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I met her on the train in Prenzlauerberg. I startled her by tapping her on the shoulder while she had headphones on. I’m always surprised when people I approach are so open and trusting about being photographed by a stranger. Cass is an artist from LA. Glad I took that train.
Cass outside my apartment. She said it was the first time she’d worn this coat in months. It was the first chilly autumn day in Berlin some day in September, the sky gave up, felt like overnight the colours faded, farewell blue hues and golden rays, instead an ashen veil loomed over Berlin. And just like that, the summer was over.
Summer and I found myself back on the east coast of South Africa shooting Alice Phoebe Lou for Rolling Stone Magazine, just ahead of her tour with Rodriguez, aka Sugarman. I had known Alice for a few years and met her in Berlin when she was busking. I was unsure of what to expect on this particular shoot because I had never shot with elephants before, though they live on a private game reserve and are somewhat used to people, they are still unpredictable and wild. We had limited time to shoot, I chose fifteen minutes before sunset and the energy and results were magical. The shot of Alice and the elephant with their heads touching was an unexpected and unplanned moment, and one of my favourite of my images to date.
The series appeared in the May 2016 issue of Rolling Stone Germany entitled “Wild Life”, with an article and interview by Ralf Niemczyk detailing Alice Phoebe Lou’s rise from busker to international singer and artist.