photo series: A Very Gernan Place
I grew up in the Taunus mountains, about 30 miles off South Western Germany’s Rhein-Main-Area with skyscraping Frankfurt at the centre. Neighbouring Offenbach however was called a dark valley by mountain folks. You would not go there unless you really needed to.
For decades, Offenbach has been seen as Frankfurt’s ugly little sister, as a kind of ghetto suburb of Europe’s banking capital sparkling on the other Main river site. While Frankfurt booms, not many people from Offenbach know when their hometown had its last industrial heydays. The unemployment rate there is way above federal average, just like public debt. Die-hards call Offenbach a hellhole, mainly because about 60 percent of the city’s 121.000 inhabitants have foreign roots; no other German city has more.
“How can you live there?” - I have heard this question many times since I moved to Offenbach some months ago. I am fascinated by rough places, their sometimes difficult social mixture.
I started to roam Offenbach a year ago and still do. This town frightens, it is dilapidated and absurd, but it is also one of a kind in the country, it educates and it is - because of its cultural mixture - very liveable. My photos are supposed to show my fascination for a town that in hectic times has preserved its peculiar charm, and which is as interesting as it can be in times of great questions about how we live with each other.
This street photography series is the beginning of a long-term portraiture of Offenbach. The work will grow over the next months, with staged portraits of all kinds of people from Offenbach, written reports from the city and personal anecdotes.