Finally I found some time to go through the images of my last trip to Istanbul. Take some time and dive into the streets of this fascinating city. Click on the image below to enter the full gallery.
The first snow of 2017 has finally come to Vienna.
Belvedere. Vienna, Austria.
Happy New Year 2017 to everyone. May all your dreams come true. Explore. Dream. Discover!!!!
“And now we welcome the new year, full of things that never have been…”
Rainer Maria Rilke
View of Mount Dachstein from Lake Gossau.
Toplitzsee (Lake Toplitz), Austria.
Krampus is a horned, anthropomorphic figure – half-goat, half-demon – who literally beats people into being nice and not naughty.
Krampus was created as a counterpart to kindly St. Nicholas, who rewarded children with sweets. Krampus, in contrast, would swat “wicked” children and take them away to his lair.
According to folklore, Krampus purportedly shows up in towns the night before December 6, known as Krampusnacht, or Krampus Night. December 6 also happens to be Nikolaustag, or St. Nicholas Day.
A more modern take on the tradition in Austria, Germany, Hungary, Slovenia, and the Czech Republic involves drunken men dressed as devils, who take over the streets for a Krampuslauf—a Krampus Run of sorts, when people are chased through the streets by the “devils.”
All photos: Michael Biach
“The Cave you fear to enter holds the treasure that you seek”
Almost two decades after the war in Bosnia & Herzegovina ended the country remains threatened by more than 120,000 landmines, buried in the ground along former frontlines.
Living next to mine fields in rural areas has been accepted as a fact of life. Since Bosnia’s three-year war ended in 1995 landmines have killed more than 600 people and injured about 1,700 individuals while the total number of victims including those killed or injured during the war is almost 10,000.
Due to the many handicapped men in Doboj a sitting volleyball club has been founded soon after the war. Besides war veterans the club also has members who suffered injuries from mine accidents after the war.
While traveling through Turkey’s Hatay Province to document the situation on the Turkish-Syrian border, I met a Syrian Bedouin family living as refugees in makeshift tents next to a small dusty road.
Syrian Bedouin family living near the Syrian border in Turkish Hatay province.
Syrian Bedouin woman with her baby inside a makeshift tent.
Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina.
“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.” (F. Scott Fitzgerald) – Košice, Slovakia.
Between 1983 and 2009 a never-ending military conflict between the Sinhalese government forces and the paramilitaries of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), who fought for independence of the majority of Tamil inhabited areas, raged mainly in the north of Sri Lanka. The United Nations estimates that nearly 40,000 Tamil civilians lost their lives in the final phase of the war, approximately half of the civil war’s total death toll. War crimes may have been carried out by both, the LTTE and the Governmental Army. Even after the war there was so sign of peace. The Sinhalese Government under rule of President Mahinda Rajapaksa has sent thousands of soldiers to ensure the fragile peace in the troubled north. Human Rights Watch repeatedly accused police and army of politically motivated torture, ill-treatment and sexual violence against Tamil civilians. In January 2015 the autocratic ruling president Rajapaksa has been deselected in his planned re-election.
In the Northern province, especially around the area of Mullaitivu, the scars of war are most evident. Destroyed houses line next to mined land. The contamination from the final phase of the war (2008-2009) now poses the most immediate and significant threat to returning families as most of the mines in Kilinochchi were laid by the LTTE after civilians were displaced, returning families are often not aware of where minefields have been laid.
The ‘victory monument’ near Mullaitiviu portraying a Sri Lankan Army officer holding the country’s flag was raised to mark the battle at Mullaitivu beach in Nandikadal lagoon where the Tamil rebels (LTTE) and their leader were crushed by the Sri Lankan Army.
Singhalese army soldiers at a wartime memorial near Elephant Pass.
A Tamil man with the significant tikka, a Hindu symbol, on his face is sitting in front of his shop in Jaffna.
A Singhalese army soldier seen through the window of a passing car.
Tamil woman at a small fish market in Jaffna.
The contamination from the final phase of the war (2008-2009) now poses the most immediate and significant threat to returning families…
…as most of the mines in Kilinochchi were laid by the LTTE after civilians were displaced, returning families are often not aware of where minefields have been laid.
In the Northern province, especially around the area of Mullaitivu, the scars of war are most evident. Destroyed houses line next to mined land.
A torn election poster of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.
A Christian man selling vegetables in a market area in Jaffna.
A Sri Lankan Army bus on the Waddukwakal Bridge. The scene was the setting of an intense battle between the Sri Lankan army and the LTTE in the final days of the war in 2009.
A Tuk Tuk driver is weaving through Bangkok’s night-time traffic.
A woman riding a motorcycle in remote Xieng Khouang province, Laos.
Bangladesh has become famous for both – shipbuilding and shipbreaking. While the first has become a major promising industry in recent years, the latter has drawn international attention on the country’s risky working conditions, environmental pollution and the adoption of child labor. Changes occured but are far from international standards.
Area at the ship-breaking yards in Sitakund, near Chittagong. Piece by piece ships are dismantled. Workers face tough conditions, extreme hard labor, fatal working incidents, the exposure of asbestos and toxic waste are among the deadly threats.
Shipbreaking is known as the breaking or recirculation of old ships for financial return. Old ships are sold so that the valuable steel can be reused. About 95 percent of a ship’s mass can be recycled. Until the 1960s, ship-breaking was concentrated in western countries like the United States, Germany, United Kingdom or Italy. From the early 1980s, the majority of the world’s vessels taken out of service were sent to India, China, Pakistan or Bangladesh. The workers at the ship-breaking yards in Sitakund, situated north of Chittagong in the Bay of Bengal, face the toughest working conditions of the whole country. Extremely hard labour, fatal working incidents, the exposure of abestos and toxic waste are among the deadly threats to those working in the ship-dismantling industry. Every step could be their last. Far away from their villages, the workers seldom see their families. They do all of this for only $1-3 per day.
An ocean vessel at the ship-breaking yards of Sitakund, Bangladesh waiting to be dismantled by the workers.
There are around 100 ship-building yards in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka, situated next to the river Buriganga. The yards are mostly serving the domestic market but are now also exporting ships for western markets.
An old man is standing for a portrait in Dhaka’s ship-building yards.
Workers rest in Dhaka’s ship-building yards.
Ocean vessels, ready to be dismantled by Bangladeshi and migrant workers, are stranded at the muddy beaches of Sitakund, Bangladesh along with old life boats. The vessels are dismantled by the workers within six months.
Barrels with oil are standing next an ocean vessel on the muddy beach of Sitakund Bangladehs. The vessel will be dismantled by workers within six months. Safety and environment regulations are mostly ignored.
Life boats of dismantled ocean vessels cover the muddy beaches of Sitakund, Bangladesh after everything else of the ship has been cut off and sold.
Old vessels are being rebuild in Dhaka’s ship-building yards.
Young workers in Dhaka’s ship-building yards.
An injured employee at the ship-breaking yards. Extremely hard labour, fatal working incidents, the exposure of abestos and toxic waste are among the deadly threats.
A worker at Bangladesh’s ship-breaking yards in Sitakund ist standing next to a big ocean vessel.
Kids playing in Dhaka’s ship-building yards.
An Elephant is protecting from midday sun in Udawalawe Nationalpark, Sri Lanka.
The river “Wien” beneath the inner city of Vienna.
A fish vendor outside of his shop in Jaffna, Sri Lanka.
The second dispatch from my travel section 30 pictures comes from Burma/Myanmar. I hope you enjoy the images. Click on the image below to enter the full gallery.
Pa-O women wearing a traditional black tunic and a brightly colored turban. The turbans are often simply scarves or towels bought at local markets and then are wrapped in a traditional style. According to an old legend the Pa-O are descendants of a father who was a supernatural being and a mother who was a dragon. The women’s trademark turban is a manifestation of the creation myth. The Pa-O, also known as Taungthu, are the second most numerous ethnic group in Burma’s Shan-State.
An old man is opening his mechanic shop in Mandalay, Burma.
Although illegal in most countries, child labor still continues all over the world, especially in developing countries. It is estimated that more than 168 million kids worldwide are working long hours under harsh conditions. In countries affected by poverty and unemployment, child labor often seems the only way for families to survive. In other cases, like organized begging, children are forced to work. Since 2002 the global child labor force has decreased by a third.
Two boys working for a sub-contractor of a garment-factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
A young Roma boy is forced to beg in the streets of Bratislava, Slovakia. He was playing his accordion in several locations across the city, always only for a limited time to avoid being picked up by Slovakian police.
A young boy working in a shipyard in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
New roads are constructed in remote Chin-State, Burma, often with the use of low-paid child labor.
Two teenagers in Walbrzych, Poland, are searching for ‘black gold’ in an illegal coal mine. The boys work on their own and are selling the coal to friends and neighbors in order to earn some money.
A young boy working in a shipyard in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
A young girl is selling bells on the streets of Yangon, Burma.
Boys working for a sub-contractor of a garment-factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
An old wedding photo still hangs on the wall inside an abandoned house on Shetland Island.
The Atlantic Puffin is doubtless one of the most adored seabirds in the world. Clown-faced with a body of black and white the cute birds only spend time on land while breading, which is from late April to early August. After their chicks have learned to fly and how to catch fish on their own, puffins simply vanish for months into the North Atlantic just to return a year later, often to the same partner and burrow. What Puffins are doing during wintertime is a mystery.
A Puffin picks up blade of grass to line its burrow.
Puffins often wait nearby their burrows before returning back with sand-eels in their mouth to watch out for gulls and other seabirds that may steal their food.
Atlantic Puffins catch up to a dozen fish or more, mostly sand-eels, to bring a meal for their chicks.
Puffins rub their beaks to show other seabirds they are a brace.
Puffins burrow near cliffs for an easy access to the sea.
A puffin brace with their chick which has not yet the significant large orange beak.
An Atlantic Puffin exits its burrow near the open sea. Burrows are several feet deep to keep eggs or chicks safe.
More information on the Atlantic Puffin on National Geographic.
Zijad, an 8 year old boy from Syria’s Idlib region and another victim of war, recently fled with his family by crossing illegally the border into Turkish Hatay province. In this image he is seen being examined by an Austrian plastic surgeon inside the Emel hospital at the Syrian border prior to an operation necessary to engraft skin from other parts of his body.
French photographer Matthieu Paley has always been a great inspiration to me, both as a traveler and a photographer. Two years ago the acclaimed photographer did a huge story for National Geographic on The Evolution of Diet. Paley traveled through seven countries, reporting on communities like the Bajau (Borneo), the Inuit (Greenland) or the Hadza (Tanzania) and their ancestral diet. He also published a book from this assignment, which can be order through 180°C, Man & Food – The Origins. For National Geographic Live Paley sums up his adventures during this assignment, you can watch the seven episodes below.
About a year ago two private treasure hunters, Piotr Koper and Andreas Liechter, announced that they have found a secret tunnel in Poland’s Lower Silesia that may hide a train full of stolen gold and artwork from World War II. Since then hundreds of treasure hunters made their way to search the area around the former coal mining town Wałbrzych.
Recently Koper and Liechter have brought heavy equipment to Wałbrzych and began to remove earth on Monday to search for the hidden Nazi gold train. Although historians doubt such a train has ever existed, the treasure hunters are still optimistic that within the next days they will find what they are looking for.
Not so long ago I spend some time in Wałbrzych with illegal coal miners searching for Poland’s real treasure, the ‘Black Gold‘:
For centuries coal mining has been the most important industry in Walbrzych, Poland. However, in the 1980s many of the coal mines became unprofitable. With Poland’s transformation from a state-directed to a free-market economy in the 1990s, nearly all of the coal mines in Lower Silesia were shut down. Thousands of people became jobless.
The area still has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country despite new industry settling in the area. It didn’t take very long until the jobless miners in the area started to dig for coal on their own.
The business is dangerous and illegal. Tunnels leading as deep as ten or fifteen meters below the ground are only protected by wood and sandbags. Inside, people dig for coal the same way they did centuries ago, by hand. Police regularly arrest illegal coal miners and confiscate their equipment, so most people dig by night to avoid police control. Not only the well-educated former miners search for ‘black gold,’ but also young and unexperienced jobless men risk their freedom and their lives to make a couple of Euros a night by selling illegal coal to residents.
after haven’t posted in a while I have decided to rearrange my photography blog. In the future I will post regularly about my travel & documentary photography, share my recent work as well as images from the archive, write about personal experiences and keep you updated on travels, adventures and interesting news in photojournalism and photography.
I will also open a new page called 30 pictures which will be devoted to travel photography and will feature thirty single images of one country or destination.