Late 2013: The leap of faith
One night after hours of shooting and editing, I stumbled upon an international photography contest online. I submitted "Urban Lights" for fun...and ended up 1st worldwide.
It made me cry for joy since I doubted myself so much and I still felt like the odd one out.
I submitted my photos to all sorts of street photography and fine art photography contests afterwards. Since my rather reduced, colorful, abstract and contrasty fine art street photography style was so rare and different at the time, I won 11 awards in 2013.
My clinical depression and anxiety that I dealt with ever since I was a teenager lifted with every award and photo. For the first time in my life, I felt a sense of achievement and purpose!
You could've offered me millions, but I would've never traded that feeling for anything in the world!
To spice up my 365 project and break out of my cubicle for 2 weeks, I flew to Seoul in South-Korea.
After shooting the streets of Seoul day in and day out, I experienced my moment of truth. With my camera in my hand, I looked down the street and said to myself: "I'm doing market research for a living, but I'm living for street photography! I want to shoot street photos for a living! God knows how, but I will find a way!"
In order to remember this moment, I created "Time Is Running Out". This self-portrait shows an hour glass with me in the middle running into my dream future.
I flew back to Germany a few days later. I arrived back in the office, but I couldn't take it anymore. Whenever I looked in the mirror, I had the feeling I was lying to myself.
It blows my mind how vivid these memories still are to me. One morning, I looked outside from my desk. It was ice cold outside, rain was pouring down and the sky was dark grey. I asked myself:
"Would you rather stay here in the warm office or shoot all on your own on the rainy streets?"
I quit one hour later...