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04 May 2007


Once I've arrived in the area that I picked out to go to, the search begins. There are many different ways of getting around and finding places. It all depends on the people of that particular region. The simplest way is to drive around and start knocking on doors, and see what happens. In some countries this works, but also only up to a certain level; sometimes you arrive in an area where strange or bad things may have happened awhile ago. There, people will no longer let you in.

And sometimes you just know that there are interesting places that you want to see, but you don't want to knock on the door. You're afraid it will be a great place to photograph but they won't let you in. In Germany (Das Bayerische Wald, where I traveled with my daughter), there were a couple of places like this; I had seen them and I was afraid to spoil the opportunity. In that case, there are several ways to get around. One of them is to ask around and see if you can find someone who knows the person living in the place in question. You try to get an introduction from this intermediary.

You see some of the directions that were given to us when we were trying to approach certain places. I made a simple sketch of how to get there (or to show the informant which place I wanted to get into) and I wrote down the names that were important for me. In both situations, it worked out.

After I had found people who knew these places and the people living in them, they told me to go there and tell the inhabitants that I had been sent to make the photograph by the go-between; often this was enough, and often this IS enough. If you have a name of the person who introduced you, and the name of the person you want to meet, you come in with an air of trust. People feel much more comfortable. In Portugal for instance, we often went to the local fire brigade and talked to the commander-in-chief. If we then knocked on certain doors and said that Mr. So-and-so—chief of the fire brigade—had sent us, no questions were asked.

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