I was born in the south of Germany on 3/3/1966. My mother is a pharmacist and my father, a mechanic. I grew up in the countryside and after my father died in 1981, we moved to a small town in the area of Stuttgart.

In 1986, I finished my high school (Gymnasium). My main interests were art, history and politics, especially the Middle East and Israel; since I read a book about the political conflict at the age of thirteen, I have been fascinated by the problems in this region.
In 1985, I bought an enlarger and took some pictures with a Minox camera, which my uncle had given me as a present. That's how I came in to photography.

My interests in politics and particularly, the politics of the Middle East combined with my interests in photography logically led to the pursuit of photojournalism.

In 1987, I did my national service.

In 1988, I got some practical experience working with various photographers.

During 1988/89, I did two stories one about Jewish cemeteries another about concentration camps in Germany.

In spring 1989, I travelled for the first time to Jerusalem and the occupied territories in order to work on a portfolio for my application to German universities.

Later that year I applied for a university place in a photography course in Essen. My application was successful and I stayed there until the autumn of 1991.

In 1990, I went to the West Bank and Jerusalem for two months. This time I focused on religious aspects, the problems of occupation and the daily life in the holy city.

In 1991, I completed my work on Jerusalem and made an extensive report about the arrival of Russian immigrants. Moreover, I visited Gaza for the first time. This trip lasted three months.

From October 1991 to June 1992, I lived in Damascus in order to learn the Arabic language at the Arabic Teaching Institute for Foreigners. (I had completed two crash-courses in Arabic before). During my previous visits to the Middle East, I had realised that I needed to speak the language of the people, if I wanted to report about the affairs of this region. So I did not only learn Arabic in Damascus, but it also allowed me to experience the particular culture in a more intensive and direct way.

In March 1993, I went by motorbike to Italy and took a ship to Israel.I stayed for two months in Gaza taking pictures, then I drove once more to Damascus to improve my Arabic and returned to Gaza in October 1993.

There, I again rented a flat and stayed until June 1994 taking pictures relating to the changes, which the autonomy agreement between the Israelis and the Palestinians had brought about. During this period, I also spent two weeks in Lebanon and reported on Beirut.

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