I first met and photographed Constantin, or Conna, at his house when he must have been no older than 16 and then a year later at the old NSA surveillance station on the Teufelsberg in Berlin. A relict from the cold war built on top of the rubble from world war 2, dramatic but to the Berliner: just another piece to an insane puzzle.
After that second shoot a few years went by but for the next one we booked a studio in Berlin and spent a day. We played around for hours. I went from one lighting set up to the next and from dark to light, inside to outside, we changed outfits from casual to dressed-up to not dressed at all and towards the end a bunch of looks I can’t show here. I would say this shoot was definitely the most creatively unrestricted we ever did together. It would prove to produce the most powerful portrait I would take of Conna to date and likely ever.
After that I would call him up every time I was in Berlin and we would shoot some portraits. At his house, him jumping on the trampoline in the backyard. He would make crazy faces or pose super serious. Me always trying to catch the vulnerable moments in between.
We both share a love for Porsches and one year he had started to accumulate all these cars. I was excited but I also was worried because taking a portrait in front of a car is very difficult to pull off without it looking super cheesy. Especially since he was still young. It’s one thing to have an old man in front of a vintage Ferrari or something but a young guy in front of a 90’s Porsche is a tough one.
Over all these years one image from that shoot in the studio stood its ground. It was obvious to me right away when I first saw it that this was a special portrait and it has remained as one of my favorite photographs I have taken. It’s one of these moments where he was sort of in between posing and relaxing. This photograph really pushed me towards shooting in this style and it is in my mind every time I take a portrait that has the potential to rival it.