My goal is to draw  my audience into an intriguing but partly told plot and encourage them to use their imagination to participate in the creation of the final story. The key is to leave out information. To achieve this I need to start with a complete and detailed story. Then I can take away. It all starts with my main character.

A "femme fatale," attractive, self-confident and unapproachable women with mysterious and seductive charms that fascinate not only men. Cast spells that often bring the other characters in a story into danger and crime. The viewer of my artwork is drawn into becoming not only witness of these women's deeds, but also unwittingly, ally to their hidden purposes.

Just like the "film noir" works with a "voice-over" narration, my stories narrate with headlines: Vicious, Wild and True or Angel Face Still on the Run. Sometimes I use commentary such as Sorry, We Are Dead or a comic reference such as The End on a license plate.

In my series titled True Detective Stories, a serial killer is on the run. While she is hitchhiking, a newspaper blows toward her on the street. She discovers that her picture is on the police "wanted" list. She burns the newspaper on the curb of the street. She catches a ride to the next town where she changes her clothes and appearance but notices that she is being watched and followed by a man in a black pickup. Where can she go? Where can she hide? She eludes her pursuer and finally finds an old telephone booth. She calls to find a hideaway. But when she looks around, she discovers her pursuer is still there. She drops everything and flees. But she can't shake him off. There is only one option left. She lures and outsmarts him. As written on the building: Murderess Strikes Back. While carrying away the dead body, his badge falls identifying him as an FBI agent. Our protagonist takes precautionary measures and burns all the evidence.

Mission #103 tells about a contract killer who drives from LA to take a contract in Wisconsin. Her car is not only her means of transportation, but her constant and only companion. It is an '82 Cadillac De Ville six-door Stageway limousine she lovingly calls "my husband". As arranged, she is to receive her final instructions late at night in a phone booth. She is punctual to the minute. Exact time is vital. The phone rings, she picks up and listens. She is told that a post office box key is glued to page #103 of the dangling phone book. Her client has left her an envelop in box #103 of the little post office on the main street. After picking it up she needs a place for the night, something simple and inconspicuous. She finds a bed-and-breakfast motel where she goes to work on the plan. In the envelop, she finds information about her target. Finally she takes a hot and much deserved shower. As she dries her hair she hears noises outside. She looks out but sees nothing unusual. Her professional awareness, however, tells her to be skeptical.

The next day she catches a glimpse of her victim. Like a predator, she waits for the right moment to hit her prey. When her target is getting into his car in a deserted parking area, the time has come. From a short distance, the job is executed with a Luger P08 and silencer. Now to quickly dispose of the dead body. Good thing that her "husband' has a large trunk.   

1. The Character, The Story and The Story Telling

I am often asked if my photos are still pictures out of US movies. So, I would like to explain the steps of creating my FOTO NOIR pictures.

True Detective Stories and Mission #103 take place in Bayfield County, Wisconsin, USA. My family history goes back to the first settlement in in 1900 in a tent on Cable Lake just outside the Town of Cable, a township that now boasts 836 residents. I like to describe it with film titles: ‚Twin Peaks’ meets ‚Blue Velvet‘ or ‚Fargo’ in the summer time. Based on that, the location for the first series, True Detective Stories, came directly from Cable while in Mission #103 the setting is further south near Hayward.

Two criteria were important in my selection of these locations. They had to fit into the world of my protagonists and the background had to have a visual radiation - what I call an ‚aura‘. When I first  survey a possible location, I begin with the main character and the story in my head and tried to visualize the action. I then let the features of the location intrude into the plot without altering the character in the story.

Many photos are taken from various perspectives during location shooting. ‚Plain‘, as well as with a substitute car and a stand-in figure (sometimes my mother, Nancy, or my step-father,Tom, but mostly with my all-round assistant/ lighting tecnician/local location scout, Ryan. Here are two or three photos from the location shots of Nancy, Tom and Ryan.

The actual choice of location presents a challenge: how do I fit a “top” the location into the plot? What is the best location for an indispensable action? I often choose my final  location from the various backgrounds. The most important factor is the authenticity of the figure and the world in which she lives. She must appear real and true and not just documentarily correct.

2. Location and Scouting

The story is ready. The locations, props and cars are selected. Now the general production preparation begins. It gets interesting when little things interrupt and interfere with a shoot. For example, less than twenty-four hours before a scheduled night shooting at two locations I found out from the keeper of the ‚hero car‘ (the car in the picture) that the owner would not allow an unknown driver to drive his vehicle and because of his age, the owner could not stay up late for a longer shoot during the night. Further, I was told that the car could not be driven because it had no registration... Or, how does one get a ‚wet-down‘ (water on the street for nice refelctions) in a large intersection with no water faucet nearby? And, of course, there are police who may wonder why two people packed with photo gear are running around on a dark night pouring canisters of water on the pavement. One thing that I learned quickly: In the photo and film business a production is simply called ‚shoot‘. But in the North American woods I would recommend not call the police and talk about setting up a ‚shoot‘.

Once the photos are shot all of the important camera data is written down: focal length, aperture, height, angle, and distance to the stand-in.

3. Production on location

car scouting

camera data

The cast of the protagonist is essential because every actress shapes the final character. Once casted we add outfit and make-up, to ‚create‘ the main character.

Before getting down to the fashion details you talk about the fictitious figure. For example, what that person did the night before or what was her relationship with her father. The more you add, the clearer gets the character. Then the stylist and hair/makeup artist make suggestions (moods).and during the fitting with the actress the final character arises.

The studio shoot involves two important aspects. First: The acting of the actress. It is the same as on a film set. The director/ photographer must create an ‚inner attitude‘ for the character. From that point of view, the people in my pictures are not models, but actors. Second: the original location has to be reproduced. Besides the camera data, the light situation is of major importance.

Even the smallest detail is taken into consideration. A finished photo is open to permanent observation. Unlike motion picture film, the observer has endless time to find flaws and mistakes. Consequently, every (well, almost every) pixel is important.

4. Cast, Styling, Fitting and post-production

Part 1: Postproductionmaking_of_post.html
Part 2: Prep & Shoot
Part 1: Postproductionmaking_of_post.html
Print, Frame, Sealfinish.html
Holographic Imbedded Serialsguarantee.html
CV, Awards, Pressartist.html
Post, Prep & Shootmaking_of_post.html
Contact, Credits, Linksmiscellaneous.html
MISSION #103 (2013)MISSION.html
other photo art work 
White Trash Fantasies
Beware Juiciness
other art work
Photo Paintingsother_art.html

Staged Photography

in 3 Acts and 5 Acts

DAY (2014)DAY.html
NIGHT (2014)NIGHT.html
Berlin Gallery Weekend 2014
Video 2min