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Enrico Fabian
People

Maybe it’s like that: There are two types of people, there are photographers and there is the rest of us. I always feel safe with photographers, I always feel that they know their way around, where to go after dark and where not to, what to drink, what to say, where to look – their’s is a radical openess and a certain neglect for the things that the rest of us want, safety, a warm bed, a wife, that sometimes leads them to different, darker pathways. James Nachtwey is one such example, we discussed his story while we were climbing up the road towards Shimla in the Indian Himalayas, lush green valleys and the sense of a colonial past lifting occasionally like the deep hanging clouds. What are you prepared to give, what are you prepared to offer, what is the price you are willing to pay? In the case of Nachtwey, the legendary war photographer, the answer was clear: anything, everything, my life, not for the thrill, not for the image, but for the idea that moves him – call it justice, call it humanity, call it the dream of a warm bed. And Enrico, as far as I can tell, is similar in that way. We only spent two days together, we drove to the former British mountain ressort of Shimla together to do a story for Der Spiegel and meet the brilliant writer Pankaj Mishra in his little village nearby – and different as we are, what I immediately liked about Enrico was the intensity of his thinking, the spiritually and ethically motivated way of looking at the world, the intimacy with which he engaged with the people around him. Enrico is a talker, he likes to communicate, and even the Indians were surprised as to how good his Hindi is. He is a person who thinks in stories, and one of these stories is his own life, which he changed within a few weeks: He had come to India, he felt the rest of his life crumble, the life of a software guy from Germany, a strange and empty shell that he left behind – and reinvented himself as a photographer. He just started, driven by his curiosity, to seek out the poorest of the poor, the lower casts, the drug addicts, follow them, live with them, spend time with them, this, he said, was the most rewarding thing, and he talked of friends. Today he works for the New York Times and does pro bono work, he lectures and travels to make people see and understand. What has not changed is the attitude: Born in the East of Germany, and a body full of tattoos, he will do anything, anything needed to make you aware.

People
Enrico Fabian
by Georg Diez