How i got into photojournalism

Two years after moving back to the place i was born, i got into journalism at school. Since 2000, i visited several courses to learn how to run a newspaper, because of my teacher Mrs. Klein: None of this would have happened without her. But it was never really successful with my schoolmates. Because of this, i decided to do it alone, from creating content to printing the pages for the student newspaper. I didn’t make any money from advertising, but at least i was running a news media, and got experience in delivering content to the public.
Five years later, in 2005, i got into photojournalism, because i was successful in transforming my print journalism into online journalism, and had enough skills with my DSLR camera. At some point, i applied for a press pass, and visited a variety of events, like concerts, politics and sports, to write about them and make photos. I got to shoot many actors, athletes, celebrities, singers, politicians, royals, and even the pope, while i was covering whatever they were doing.
But after over 100.000 photos, i got tired and took a break from making "indie" journalism. Because the numbers have shown that most don't care. And at the end, i wasn’t creating anything, just reporting what other people were doing. I have felt that i am at least as good as they are, and should show it to the world. This is why i focused more on myself, and started to make YouTube videos, where i present some of my skills i acquired, or aspire to be better in.

How i started with Perl programming language

Back then, in 1998, when i got a dial-up internet connection for my IBM computer for the first time, i found "redseven". It was a online community from TV station "ProSieben" in Germany. They had chatrooms, guestbooks, forums and boards. At that time, i already started to build my own website with HTML and Javascript, just by try and error, without any programming skills. But i was quite limited with it.
And this is where at some point Daniel Rüd introduced me to the Perl Programming Language. I have met him in the chat and we became good friends since then. If i had any friends, most of them were older than me, because i was different, and they didn't understand why. Back then, i was at school, and he was working as an IT person at a large bank.
This was before 2001, when the dot-com bubble was still not at its peak. Sadly i came too late for the whole thing and i never got a piece of the cake. But then again, i was really young. And internet access via telephone modem was slow and expensive. Eventually, Daniel Rüd made me a FTP account for his web server, so i could upload my first Perl projects and try them out over the internet. He was really nice and helped me with everything. This is how i got my feet wet, and since then, i never stopped writing code in Perl, even when he moved on to the PHP programming language for his projects.
And at some point, i run my own server and started to code my own online community. Since then, most of my projects are based on Perl code. I have tried a lot of different things on the web, but never got something that made me rich financially. I just learned a lot and got a sense of achievement, because i had many thousands of people using my services regularly.
I even told him about the crushes i had on girls at school, and was never that easy on him, but he kept listening to me. Now he has his own family and is working as IT person for a weather forecast service. Thank you to Daniel Rüd, for being friends with me for so long.

Why i stopped playing table tennis

Around the peak of my burn out, would be the short answer. And at some point, i was too old for the youth teams, so i had to do my table tennis training with older people, which was fine, but i felt too young among them. The age gap was quite high. And it was before i got my body weight down to normal. Because of this, i was never really on top, just good enough to play in a team against other clubs.
I always liked it, because there is not much running involved. It was still a fast ball sport, where you have to be awake and focused. But i joined rather late in 2001 a table tennis club. I like to do things quick and precise. Small actions can lead to big points. And this is why i played it for around eight years at DJK Blau-Weiß Friesdorf. I don’t think i wasted my time, because i met pleasant people, who really care about what they do. Something that bound us together for the moment. I still own my "Newgy Robo-Pong 540" table tennis robot and have my "ping pong" table in the attic above us. Thanks to the nice mother of our landlord, who allowed me this a long time ago.
But i needed to do a reset on all my activities, because it was too much. I had already merged a couple of my web projects together and discontinued other services completely. And it felt good to have space to move the focus to somewhere else, because i got time to change or start things that made me more happy. I would never have done my trail of thousand origami cranes with all the weight i had back then.
It was an act of desperation, i wasn’t forced to do it, it was just everything i knew to be true at that time. I buried myself into all the things and i haven’t even asked, how i’m doing, and what can i do to be happy. I realized i was miserable and i lost the connection to myself. I kept doing the same thing and was expecting a different result. Something had to change, or it would be stupid. Life was drowning me, and i needed a break. At that point, i felt this was my only option.

Dissecting my obsession with Jessica Clements

Life is boring if you don’t risk something, even if it's just your time. In late 2016, i folded over 700 origami cranes in Edinburgh, and i had not much to do in the winter. Eventually, i watched a video on YouTube with Jessica Clements and her birds, and i just wanted to go down that rabbit hole. I was investing some of my time in her, trying to find out what she is up to, hoping that one day our paths will cross, and share some time together.
My obsessions were always not that bad in hindsight. They gave me a goal to work towards, when i had no destiny in sight. And along the way, i picked up more parts of myself. With growing and learning came a little bit of happiness, by using the potential to fill the emptiness. It made me unique, but made me feel out of place too.
I’m afraid to lose my parents, because i would be alone. I still live with them, because i don’t have anything you would call a job. But only certainty gives confidence to act courageous. This makes me want to build something with others, to create a home where i can stay, just like now: Somewhere safe, but more permanent, where i can figure it all out. To make this happen and find peace, i probably need to disconnect the idea from a physical place.
I’m not going to quit life, because of moments like with Jessica Clements, as glowing in the dark. There is still hope that the world can do better. Maybe she was just a distraction, but i wanted to believe something like this could lead somewhere. I wanted to go crazy on her and see where it goes from there. The future doesn’t look that good, and i end up lonely. This is why i gave it a chance, so it’s less likely to happen.
And at the end, there is still an animal inside, controlled and fed by me. His priorities weren't the same as mine and he was unconcerned with everything i wanted. He had the idea of having a home, and i was jealous about it. At some point in life, i have put him behind thick walls, so he never got to do anything, because i was a little bit faster and braver, with a wider view on the world and more ideas. It’s a lot of work to keep everything tidy, but he is one of the few things that makes me feel alive, and is worth it. He liked Jessica Clements, because she had something that reminded him of me.

Her birds made me go to Dublin

I already mentioned where i started the trail of thousand origami cranes, and if you read between the lines, you may know why too. It has to make sense at the end. Have you ever read "Hansel and Gretel" by the Brothers Grimm? Since i’m based in Bonn, there are a handful of countries in my reach, just by taking the train. Deciding where to fold my origami cranes is limited by this. I’m not going to fly far away without your support finding a sponsor. I would like to do it everywhere.
Some places have more motivation behind. Jessica Clements wrote at some point, probably at Saint Patrick's Day, part of her background is Irish. After a while of thinking, i booked an apartment and tickets for Dublin. I had some travel credits from referring people to Airbnb. This happened last month, before i stopped myself going too far with Jessica Clements two weeks ago. Dublin was already on my radar last year, but there was not enough reason to make me go there, until she came up with birds on her shoulders.
I was a geography student at the University of Bonn, and like to travel with meaning behind it. For example, in 2007, i went twice to "the Harz" to learn more about mining and water management via a "Geländepraktikum" led by Peter Welke, which was a lot of fun. This time, i wanted to have a feeling for the origin of Jessica Clements, her place on planet Earth, and from where she got there, to see parts of the bigger picture, and to demystify Jessica Clements a little bit. Since this is better than nothing, i’m good with it, and i can move on. When i understand someone, i can let the person go more easily. This is just how my brain works. It predicts the future with the input i gathered, and since it's real life, the outcome gives me most of the time room to say good bye.
Maybe the world is bad, but the people in Dublin i met last week were nice to me. Before my trip, i have read horror stories about thieves and violence, but i had a pleasant stay in the capital of Ireland. Although seven days don’t say much. And since i'm not going out at night, i missed the other part of each day too. Some people took a break to say hi, without even knowing me, just because i was there folding origami cranes. They have made my day. It was windy and it rained a lot, but i still got 706 of them done on my Dublin journey.
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