A few questions for… Heinz Stephan Tesarek

Heinz Stephan Tesarek (www.heinztesarek.com) has been assigned many times by News, a leading Austrian weekly. However, the Vienna-based photographer is also focusing on own projects. Tesarek recently released a book called “Zwischenzeit. Bilder entscheidender Jahre” (Interim. Pictures of decisive years). the Austrian Culture Channel had a few questions.

You have been to warzones all over the world. Have you ever been afraid?

I have been to some warzones, but I am not a war photographer. I tell you frankly – a sudden tax pay back can be frightening, on a much higher scale.

Have you ever been in danger while at work?

If you decide to work on a certain kind of stories, there is no way around a certain amount of risk. I try to keep it to a limit.

When did you start getting interested in photography?© Heinz Stephan Tesarek / www.heinztesarek.com

At the age of 14, I saw a documentary about cameraman covering the Gulf War. This seemed very exciting to me. Soon afterwards I quit my technical education and started to take pictures.

Do you remember your first camera and set of pictures you took?

On my 10th birthday, I got a Polaroid 1500 Land Camera, and a film including 10 Polaroid pictures. The first image I took was my grandfather in our garden. Then I shot a portrait of my mum near a window. Then a school excursion to a monastery and my bicycle. I still have those pictures in my archive.

All of the pictures in your new book (“Zwischenzeit. Bilder entscheidender Jahre” / Interim. Pictures of decisive years) are printed in black and white. Do you think they are ‘stronger’ and have a bigger impact than in colour?

I work much in black and white, because of its abstractive power. Black and white is a strong reminder to past times. It puts our time in a historic context. I am much influenced by the German expressionistic silent movies of the 1920s and 1930s. This time shows a lot of parallels to ours. And unlike today, artists seemed to have a developed sense for political and social developments lying ahead.

It seems you wanted to leave important questions concerning violence, poverty and injustice unanswered with the photos of “Zwischenzeit”. Was it your intention to make people think about the problems of today’s society?

My intention was to collect evidence of today’s events. To collect photographs – in order to avoid words. The book does not give answers on the questions asked today. But maybe these questions will be asked tomorrow.

Book look: a soccer tome, a trip to Baku and a portrait of Luther

Over the decades, the German Football Bundesliga has developed into an nils-havemann-samstags-um-halb-4important aspect of contemporary culture. The league also became a crucial economic aspect – despite throwbacks such as corruption scandals, racism and hooliganism. In his new book “Samstags um halb 4. Die Geschichte der Fußball-Bundesliga”, Nils Havemann portrays the most important soccer personalities of Germany. He also describes the developments which led to the foundation of a nationwide league in 1963. Havemann explains why some influential decision-makers of that era opposed establishing the league. On 670 pages, the author of the acclaimed book “Fußball unterm Hakenkreuz. Der DFB zwischen Sport, Politik und Kommerz” about football during the reign of the Nazis analyses why some tradition-rich clubs got into trouble – and why some teams won trophies despite their modest budgets and rather low numbers of supporters. It was worth waiting for this book, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Samstags um halb 4. Die Geschichte der Fußball-Bundesliga
By Nils Havemann
Published by Siedler (www.siedler-verlag.de)

Not many fans of independent rock music may have linked Christiane Rösinger with one of the most kitschy entertainment events in the world. However, the former member of underground pop bands “Lassie Singers” and “Britta” is a fan of the Eurovision Song Contest. Last year, she decided to travel to Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, to join the crowds at its 57th edition. “Das schöne Leben”, Rösinger’s debut novel, was published in 2008. She continued writing and thereby especially focused on providing articles for magazines and newspapers. However, another book – “Liebe wird oft überbewertet”, about the positive aspects of living alone – was released as well. In “Berlin – Baku. Meine Reise zum Eurovision Song Contest”, Rösinger writes about the deserted breakfast halls at rather unglamorous hotels she stayed in before finally reaching Baku. Rösinger – who travelled in her Volkswagen van, also portrays the people she met on the road as she drove through Turkey, Bulgaria and Georgia among other countries.

Berlin – Baku. Meine Reise zum Eurovision Song Contest
By Christiane Rösinger
Published by Fischer (www.fischerverlage.de)

Martin Luther managed to significantly change the life of many people in medieval Europe by questioning the primacy of the Pope. Accused of heresy after releasing his 95 theses, the priest and philosophy professor kept on fighting for a clerical reform. The life of the man who paved the way for Protestantism is now told by a Humboldt University professor. On more than 700 pages, Heinz Schilling writes about Luther’s famous fight against conformism in the Catholic Church. However, Schilling’s book – which depicts a portrait of Luther by Lucas Cranach the Elder on its cover – takes its readers into the era Luther lived in. Furthermore, he tells from Luther’s childhood and explains why he became the fiercest critic of the established church. “Martin Luther. Rebell in einer Zeit des Umbruchs” is just one of several excellent historical non-fiction books released by the C.H. Beck publishing house. Another great achievement is “United States of America”, a 760-page tome by Postdam University lecturer Bernd Stöver on the political and cultural history of the USA. Stöver explains how civilization developed on the new continent but also focuses on complex economic aspects. Apart from that, he writes about the USA’s many wars.

Martin Luther. Rebell in einer Zeit des Umbruchs
By Heinz Schilling
Published by C.H. Beck (www.beck.de)

Book look: Tim Jürgens and Thomas Lötz

Delius Klasing, a publishing house specialised in sports, has released a picture book about Germany’s Football Bundesliga.

“50 Jahre Bundesliga. Die Geschichte in Bildern” by Tim Jürgens and Thomas Lötz features spectacular action photos and portrays of the game’s most impressive personalities. Apart from images, the book contains remarkable statements and funny quotes by players and coaches. 1Among the pictures, there are photographs of teams proudly presenting the league trophy. However, the book also focuses on exciting duels between rivalling clubs like Bayern Munich and Borussia Mönchengladbach in the 1970s.

“50 Jahre Bundesliga. Die Geschichte in Bildern” also makes clear that football is not everything that matters. One photo shows the players of Borussia Dortmund and Schalke 04 forming a circle in the middle of the pitch just before kickoff to commemorate the deaths of the 9/11 terror attacks. Other pictures show the league’s movers and shakers such as Uli Hoeneß, Reiner Calmund and Rudi Assauer – and Paul Breitner playing billiard. “50 Jahre Bundesliga.

Die Geschichte in Bildern” is just the latest in a series of great football-themed releases. Only a few months ago, Delius Klasing presented “Peter Neururer. Aus dem Leben eines Bundesligatrainers” by Thomas Lötz, a biography of Peter Neururer who managed several tradition-rich clubs over the past few years. Neururer currently coaches VfL Bochum who compete in Germany’s second-highest football division. Previously, the Marl-born soccer expert was in charge at 1. FC Köln (Cologne) and Hannover 96 among other teams.

50 Jahre Bundesliga. Die Geschichte in Bildern
By Tim Jürgens and Thomas Lötz
Published by Delius Klasing (www.delius-klasing.de)

Book look: Affairs, Arabic and the adventures of Joel Spazierer

There have always been affairs, and some of them have had dramatically effected developments of global concern. Now Residenz Verlag, a St. Pölten-based publishing house, has released a book 1about some of the most scandalous affairs and ill-fated love stories. “Im Bett mit… Geschichten von Odysseus bis Marilyn Monroe” considers Odysseus, Casanova, Marilyn Monroe and the tragic fate of Lady Diana. Author Johanna Fürstauer – an expert on classical music and conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt previously published texts about various cultural and historical topics as well as a book called “Oper, sinnlich. Die Opernwelten des Nikolaus Harnoncourt”. In her new book, she investigates the various affairs’ impacts. Fürstauer created a wonderful panorama of amorous follies and personal indiscretions of which most had serious consequences.

Im Bett mit… Geschichten von Odysseus bis Marilyn Monroe
By Johanna Fürstauer
Published by Residenz Verlag (www.residenzverlag.at)

Andreas Unger’s new book reveals how many words used in German language on a daily basis have their origins in Arabic. Unger – who studied classical philology, German and Roman languages and literature – underlines how strongly Europe benefited from this exchange not only of words, but also cultural values. In times of more and more populist attacks against Muslims and immigrants in general, Unger’s foreword is an important contribution to a peaceful coexistence. Unger cooperated with Andreas Christian Islebe in creating the book – which is also available as e-book. “Von Algebra bis Zucker. Arabische Wörter im Deutschen” serves up many surprises. Who would have thought that words like Magazin – which means “storage site” in German – marzipan spinach and lemonade are all words with Arabic origin. Thanks to these revelations and the precise documentation by Unger and Islebe, this book has the potential to become essential for history of civilisation and language students and professors.

Von Algebra bis Zucker. Arabische Wörter im Deutschen
By Andreas Unger
Published by Reclam (www.reclam.de)

“Die Abenteuer des Joel Spazierer” is the title of a new book by Michael Köhlmeier, one of Austria’s most popular contemporary authors. Köhlmeier is active as a writer for many years, and “Abendland” can be considered as one of his absolute highlights. The spectacular book about the story of a family throughout the decades received unanimous acclaim all over German-speaking Europe. “Abendland” was released in 2007. Three years later, he presented “Madalyn”, a wonderful story about a teenage girl growing up in Vienna. “Die Abenteuer des Joel Spazierer” – which spans across 650 pages – has been awaited eagerly by the press. The book, which currently dominates the sales charts in Austria and Germany, comes after a collection of poems called “Der Liebhaber bald nach dem Frühstück”. Köhlmeier tours Austria and its neighbouring countries on a regular basis to read from his books. A few weeks ago, the author – who lives in Vorarlberg and Vienna – held a speech at the “Tage der deutschsprachigen Literatur”, also known as Ingeborg Bachmann Award, in Klagenfurt.

Die Abenteuer des Joel Spazierer
By Michael Köhlmeier
Published by Hanser (www.hanser-literaturverlage.de)

Book look: Thomas Glavinic

After writing a book about the real-life horrors which a pilgrimage can include, Thomas Glavinic has written another novel. Glavinic’s most recent books such as “Die Arbeit der Nacht” (2006) and “Das bin doch ich” from 2007 all became bestsellers.
“Unterwegs im Namen des Herren” – a report on a bizarre coach trip to Medjugorje in Bosnia and Herzegovina – also sold extremely well. Glavinic was accompanied by photographer Ingo Pertramer. His recount of the journey is immensely enjoyable to read.

Now Glavinic refocused on his core business of creating outstanding novels. It has to be seen whether “Das größere Wunder” can match the high expectations of fans and critics. According to reports, Glavinic spent eight years on finishing his new book which tells a story taking place on the Mount Everest, in Rome, Tokyo and South America.

Glavinic, who was born in Graz, resides in Austrian capital Vienna. “Wie man leben soll”, a book published in 2004, was turned into a movie starring Axel Ranisch, Robert Stadlober and Katharina Straßer two years ago. David Schalko (“Sendung ohne Namen”, “Dorfers Donnerstalk”) was in charge as director.

Literature experts started to label Glavinic as one of Austria’s most gifted novelists following the release of “Der Kameramörder” in 2001. The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, a leading German newspaper, lauded him as “one of the most interesting writers of his generation”.

Das größere Wunder
By Thomas Glavinic
Published by Hanser (www.hanser-literaturverlage.de)

Book look: Peter Lanz

Falco is often lauded as Austria’s only pop star. The musician – who started out as bassist of Viennese band Drahdiwaberl – invented German rap and topped the US Billboard charts with “Rock Me Amadeus” in 1986.

Growing up under financially difficult conditions, Falco always acted rebellious – in school and on stage. It was only his love and admiration for his mother which kept him from coming off track early. However, things out of control completely when he rose to become one of Europe’s hottest pop acts. The man born as Hans Hölzel failed to handle the situation, truest the wrong people and eventually died in a car crash in the Dominican Republic in 1998.

At that time, few really cared about him. The majority of music enthusiasts and culture critics considered him as a faded memory of a glitzy past. Nevertheless, renowned writers try to falsify the situation of that period by claiming that he was still on top of the game back then. “Out of the Dark”, a song released shortly after his death, dominated the charts in several countries for weeks.

In his lifetime, Falco succeeded with several remarkable songs like “Der Kommissar”, “Jeanny” and “Vienna Calling”. The new biography by Peter Lanz – now out by Ueberreuter – features a CD 1containing these and 10 other songs, as well a previously unreleased interview conducted by Norbert Ivanek in 1993.

The gripping story of Falco’s rise and fall is illustrated with images showing the eccentric pop star as a child and with Formula One legend Niki Lauda at the Vienna Opera Ball. Other photos were taken during concerts in his home country and while touring Japan.

Falco is still, and will probably always be, a household name in Austria. A small street in Vienna-Donaustadt was named after him in 2008, and Manuel Rubey did a superb job in “Falco – Verdammt, wir leben noch!”, considering the pressure heaved upon him when it emerged that he will play Falco in the film by Thomas Roth.

Falco. Die Biografie
By Peter Lanz
Published by Ueberreuter (www.ueberreuter.at)

Book look: Stefan Ulrich

During his time in Italy, Stefan Ulrich wrote two books about living in the country (“Quattro Stagioni”, “Arrivederci, Roma! Ein Jahr in Italien”). Around one and a half years ago, his employer – the Süddeutsche Zeitung – asked him whether he could imagine working in Paris. Ulrich’s yes came rather spontaneously.
In his new book “Bonjour la France! Ein Jahr in Paris”, he admits feeling homesick wanting to visit Rome during all holidays. His wife and two kids felt the same. However, they eventually decided to use off-days to discover France. Determined to soak up the country’s culture, they stayed in countryside castles and visited the most famous museums and churches of Paris.

All of these occasions included funny incidents – and Ulrich bluntly writes about it. Now and then, the reader gets the impression that Ulrich added a bit too much colour. Some of the episodes seem exaggerated and carved into shape to make a good story while a few statements, especially by his children, appear unrealistic and composed that way just to please the reader. Nevertheless, Ulrich successfully created an entertaining book full of enjoyable anecdotes about living in a Parisian suburb.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung correspondent writes about getting to know the new neighbours and his family’s problems with plumbers and internet connection experts. He recalls research activity in an infamous district in the north of the capital of France and writes about a special backstage tour at an opera. Other chapters reveal embarrassing moments concerning culinary aspects and his meetings with members of the French government – including a short eye to eye encounter with Francois Hollande, the country’s president.

Bonjour la France! Ein Jahr in Paris
By Stefan Ulrich
Published by Ullstein (www.ullsteinbuchverlage.de)