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Holleben – Curious Wonder Mail – June 2015

curious wonder mail

june 2015 — I am going to tell you a little secret about me and
him and how we tricked ’em all

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Dear friend,
Today’s newsletter starts with a little bit of history: It is 12 years ago since I took my first picture from a ladder of a person lying on the ground. It was a boy riding on the back of a dog, the starting point for my ‘Dreams of Flying’ series. The coming years would see plenty of photos by myself but also by other photographers that were loosely or heavily inspired by that work – mostly very sweet and innocent but also a few disrespectful  and commercially abusive of my intellectual property. Yes!!! What annoyance! So I thought I had to fight them: There were legal cases with Amazon, Levi’s, Décathlon and even a super award winning video by Coldplay was based on my images (we received best proof from a good inside spy!). Then, suddenly, there was one copy cat who beat them all…
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His name is Leander Baerenz, a ruthless, super efficient and highly successful stock photographer. He apparently teamed up with some of the greatest art directors and a network of over 100 picture stock libraries across the globe. He has photographed many many hundred simple yet strong royalty free illustrations of my very own visual ideas. Dream images and concepts for all sorts of graphic designers, picture editors and art directors to work with. In only a few years he flooded the image market with a constant flow of the most demanded yet state of the art image content. He is great fun and I am his biggest fan! You might wonder why?
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Because he is my own trick and revenge: I invented him to fight against all my other copy cats and in order to monopolise the main stream image market with images taken on the floor (weird concept – I agree!). ‘Leander Baerenz’ is one of my funniest and most critical projects to date. Instead of wasting time discussing bureaucratic matters on copyright or even taking people to court, I preferred producing much more work and having a ball with my friends in my studio. So please welcome Mister Leander Baerenz and his universe of images! THANKS for all the extra commissions through him and also THANKS for all the support from the photo community who sent him hate mails for copying me. You are all GREAT!! I have all respect for you!!
Important: Leander Baerenz is innocent and non-existent. YO! I take all the blame and joy for it! See some more work here!BOOK PREVIEW8e27d9bd adce 4c7c 9dcf dd0a980b5d597bd77455 d76c 4eb5 9529 b88bbe2d4d8f

226e2b9a 2e0c 4385 8cc0 f8ee9c018e4aAfter having successfully clarified the most pressing questions about puberty and the human brain, for our new book project with Thienemann-Esslinger Verlag, we turned our attention to another quite intriguing topic – RELIGION. The latest addition to our growing question-book series is going to be published this Autumn and will shed some light on real important questions like: ‘why are cows holy?’, ‘what are protestants protesting for?’, ‘how long is eternity?’ and ‘why is Buddha actually so fat?’. More coming soon!


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The most obvious issues for the young residents of Haus Leo, a refugee shelter in Berlin are inclusion in a new environment and adjusting to new prospects and culture. During spring break I met with those kids (originating from Afghanistan, Eritrea, Somalia, Irak and Serbia) and asked them “What do you want to be?”. Check the powerful and super positive results of the project that was initiated by and hosted at the great Haus der Kulturen der Welt here!


681078d2 37ba 4083 8c68 2d5bff901e82e3fa5814 e962 4355 80d1 35d9136379eeA few days ago I travelled down to Swabia to meet with childcare and kindergarden workers in Stuttgart. During the event that was hosted by the federal Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport we discussed creative forms for communicating knowledge. Part of the fun was going through the various steps of creating imaginative images à la Jan von Holleben. Thank you for having me and watch out for some more creative-educational work to come very soon! We are on the case, teachers!!!

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