My first celebrity crushes

In 1999 i saw the movie “Notting Hill” several times, because of the love story with Julia Roberts as main character. I really liked how this regular guy got the chance to fall in love with that famous actress. After twists and turns, with some ups and downs, there was an happy end. I wanted it to happen again and again. Because it gave me hope, and the cinema is in walking distance, just a few minutes from our apartment. I even bought it later on VHS tape. And the movie was probably the reason why i liked London so much in the first place.

But there was another woman that got my attention in 1999. Britney Spears came with “Born to Make You Happy” into my life and made me buy too many of her CD’s in hindsight. Watching music videos on TV was not enough. I had Britney Spears posters on the wall and i visited two of her concerts, in 2000 at Cologne and in 2004 at Oberhausen. Back then my English was not that good, but i liked her music anyway. I even made a fan page with biography, news and pictures. But later she got messed up with the wrong people and i lost interest in her. It was still a great time, because it distracted me from the problems at school.

My first digital graphic drawing tablet

In late 2006 i started to study geography at University of Bonn and i had to pick two subsidiary subjects. I chose geology and urban planning. At some point i had contact with “Computer Aided Design”, also known as CAD, and i decided to buy a digital graphic drawing tablet because of this. In early 2007 i got a Wacom Intuos 3 Tablet and i still use it today. It’s more natural and much faster than a regular mouse.

Shortly after i got my first computer in 1999 i stopped using traditional pointing devices anyway, because of the Logitech Marble Trackball, which is more precise and takes less space. At the moment i have three input devices on the table, a Wacom Intuos Tablet, a Cherry Strait Keyboard, and a Logitech T650 Touchpad. I’m left-handed and that’s why it’s arranged that way. I do not draw a lot on the computer anymore, but i still edit photos and create graphics sometimes.

My first DSLR camera was a EOS 350D

I loved to make photos ever since i can remember. But film-based cameras were expensive during their active lives. This is why i had a lot to catch up on in 2000, when i got my first digital camera, a Kodak DC3800 with 2.1 megapixels. It was the beginning of many more cameras in my career. First i used them at school to make photos and videos for presentations. And later as photojournalist i documented history being written.

In 2005 i got my first DSLR camera, a Canon EOS 350D with 8 megapixels. It has enabled me to capture a wider range of situations. It gave me access to events and humans i would not have seen in real life otherwise. At that time not many people had a DSLR camera, so i was special and ahead of my time. It was a quite unique moment, because there was hardly any competition, unlike these days. And this is why i have made steps from photography towards videography in the last years.

Overview:

  • 2000: Kodak DC3800 (2.1MP)
  • 2003: Canon PowerShot A20 (2.1MP)
  • 2004: Canon PowerShot A85 (4MP)
  • 2005: Canon EOS 350D (8MP)
  • 2009: Canon EOS 7D (17.9MP)
  • 2011: Canon EOS 5D Mark II (21.1MP)
  • 2012: GoPro Hero2
  • 2014: Canon PowerShot ELPH-150 IS
  • 2014: GoPro Hero3 White
  • 2014: Sony DSC-RX100 III
  • 2015: GoPro Hero4 Silver
  • 2016: Sony DSC-RX100 IV

Why monetization is disabled on my YouTube

Between 2011 and 2012 i had over 800.000 video views and made over 700 USD through YouTube and Google Adsense. But at some point they decided to disable the monetization of one of my channels without a way to defend myself. I still uploaded origami tutorials like nothing happened, but then i switched to another style of videos, to put myself in the foreground, instead of just my hands. Because if i don’t get paid, at least i want to be recognized as an hard working artist.

I was verified as partner and i had no copyright or community guidelines strikes either. But their algorithms didn’t like me and i was just another YouTuber. I still had the channel, but i couldn’t make any money out of it. In some way Google forced me to go one step further because of this. Now all i wanted was recognition through video views. My last hundred origami tutorials are influenced by this and i’m starring as main character. Something i would not have done otherwise. Since then i gave up on YouTube and Google as a way to earn money, and use them only to host my videos for free.

My generation is uniquely inconspicuous

I just read a German article about my generation and i try to summarize it here: “Generation Y” has left its youth behind and is now getting into the professional life. Every generation has its own taste and interests. In 1975 people still met physically at social places. In 1995 teenagers at least talked to each other via mobile phones.

In many large cities in Germany the share of immigrants under 40 years old is over 40 percent. Just look at the German national soccer team. It is an expression of the change, which will affect the next generation. Generation Y, born between 1980-1994, is currently getting into higher positions in companies. In a phase of decreasing numbers of children my generation was born with participation, support and appreciation.

The mixture of constant praise and the awareness that nothing is given in life, lead to ambition. In an increasingly fast-paced time happiness is more important than ever. And if something does not work, it’s time for a change. The many possibilities are making it not always easy to choose the “right” path.

The childhood of the “Millennials” is generally regarded as the most peaceful time in Germany. Because of the “Baby boomer” parents, my generation developed a kind of ambition “to get ahead” in order to receive praise and appreciation, just like in the childhood. We want to be successful and “good”, but not at any price.

The early integration into family decision-making processes made us attaching great importance to transparency, community, and decision-making on the same eye level. Generation Y wants to make a contribution to the society, without being too noisy. The revolution so far has been socially quiet, on the internet as “Generation Facebook”, through a culture full of experiences, inconspicuous and with each other instead of “against each other”.

Documenting my trail of origami cranes

A large part of my trail of thousand origami cranes is recorded in video with a Canon PowerShot ELPH-150 as first-person point of view camera and a GoPro Hero4 Silver as third-person point of view camera. Most of the time i use a Walimex Table Tripod to hold the Canon. For the GoPro i use a custom stand made from Lego bricks to get a really low angle. I cover the logos with black tape, because i don’t get paid for this.

I have three replacement batteries for each camera and charge them with a battery pack while i’m out there folding my origami cranes. I need to do it like this, because if everything is perfect, i can fold over hundred cranes a day, which drains the batteries. This is why i get around 700 cranes after a week of travel. The original size of the paper i use is A4, but i cut it down to A6 to make it fit.

Before i go to a city i use Google Maps with satellite view turned on. I look for benches and other things where i can sit down to fold my origami cranes. Most of the time i’m walking to the places, unless it’s in London or Hong Kong, where the Tube or the MTR is the first choice to get around. This way i get to see a lot and discover things i have not seen through my research.

After a day of folding origami cranes i backup all the files from both SanDisk Memory Cards to two Samsung SSDs. I use a Lenovo Thinkpad 8 Windows Tablet with a Inateck USB Hub attached to copy the videos and check the file integrity via MD5 hashing algorithm. This is a lot of effort to keep it all safe, but worth it. At home i use custom code to organize everything and feed it into Windows Movie Maker as the last step before uploading it to YouTube.

Holding a mirror up to the sky

In 2006 i started to study geography, but after two and a half semesters i stopped visiting the university, because of my burn out. Officially, however, i was a geography student at University of Bonn for eight years, because of the discounted tickets for public transport and other perks.

Between 2007 and 2009 i wrote two books about real life, philosophy, and art. I had several attempts to start a diary before, and they were the result of it. I published them via lulu, a online self publishing book and ebook service. There are not many copys of my books out there, because they only got printed on demand. At least two friends from my time at school bought them, and i’m grateful for this. I learned a lot while writing about others and myself. It was like holding a mirror up to the sky and seeing everything from above, but still standing on planet earth.

I wanted to understand others in relation to myself better than anyone else can. I didn’t want to waste my time for something i wasn’t ready to be. I didn’t want to hate myself later for not falling in love with myself. I love the idea of being in love, but i was the only one who is available. Not just because i was overweight, but it was part of it. I learned that i can’t picture life without me, and that i’m complete, even when i’m alone. But i have dreams, and don’t know how. I’m a hopeless romantic, but i know it cost something to get somewhere.

I was a member of the McDonalds Club

I loved junk food like nothing else, because my childhood was like a roller coaster ride. Everything changed all the time, and McDonalds or Pizza Hut were delivering a consistency, which was missing in my life. This is why i ended up with 110 kg body weight and i had to do something about it in 2009. I did not feel well in my body and decided to get rid of everything i don’t need. In less than one year i got it down to around 65 kg, with a body height of 175 cm.

Back then i was a member of the McDonalds Junior Club, this way i got letters from them with vouchers for a free meal on every birthday. In Germany the happy meal was called “Überraschungstüte”, literally translated as “surprise bag”, because of the toy you get inside. In hindsight it’s nothing special, but as a child i wanted it to be my whole world. I was wild and free, but luckily i ended up like me today.

When i was around ten years old, i regularly took the tram to get from the little town Ratingen to the big city Düsseldorf, just to watch Lego sculptures in department stores and wander around the shopping streets to the next McDonalds or Pizza Hut. Alone without anyone, like most of the time, because i didn’t feel something was missing. It was just normal and it was all i knew. At some point i even tried to sell self-made bracelets on the streets, but nothing came of it.

I collected The Simpsons comics

I have been collecting postage stamps ever since i can remember. Some regular customers of our restaurant brought me their stamps as gift and they have made my collection even larger. I often sat next to the aquarium in the restaurant and spend my time there. This way i got stamps from places i never heard of. In school i exchanged stamps with schoolmates and got even more diversity. But we moved in 1998 and i had to focus on other things.

The Simpsons was always something i was looking forward to. It has followed me everywhere. I even did crazy things to record all the episodes. Back then nothing was automatic. And at some point i bought a comic from my favorite TV series for the first time. But i didn’t get every new issue, because they were expensive. And my other passion was to watch movies in the cinema, which isn’t cheap either. This is why i bought a box full of old The Simpsons comics on eBay in 2004. I thought they would be worth something later, but i was wrong. I had to search through my mail archive to find the year of purchase.

But i’m happy that i collected stamps. It gave me a wider view on the world and got me interested in history too. This is one of the reasons why i decided to study geography at university. It all fits together and there are still pieces left. The stamps are not worth a lot, but i have many memories associated with them. They come from a time when i did not have much to worry about. A somewhat different world than today.

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. 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. 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, 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 journalism. Because 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.