I saw this photo and stopped my feed reading (would that be called, feeding?). The power of an image. But as I explored more deeply, the power of Gerd Ludwig‘s body of work displayed on his site gives pause to the rush of my beginning day. I highly recommend you take a visit. His galleries are powerful. I especially appreciated the Chernobyl photographs and the photo story on Russian pollution. Clicking the photograph featured in this post will take you to Gerd’s work.
The Chernobyl photographs remind me of the Magnum Stories podcast series to which I subscribe in iTunes. Paul Fusco did a podcast with Magnum In Motion, Chernobyl Legacy that speaks to the Chernobyl horror that silently lingers on to this day buried in our world’s shame. I highly recommend this work as well. I think we humans recklessly bluster forward full speed into areas about which we know too little, causing unspeakable harm to our fellow humans, be it Iraq, nuclear power, perhaps wireless electricity, environmental hazards, carbon poisoning…
At any rate, here is the bio from Gerd’s site:
Gerd Ludwig was born in Alsfeld, Germany, in 1947. Initially he studied German literature, political science, and physical education at the University of Marburg, but interrupted his studies to travel in Scandinavia and North America while supporting himself with jobs as a bricklayer, sailor, gardener, and dishwasher. Gerd later returned to Germany and studied photography for five years with Professor Otto Steinert at the Folkwangschule in Essen, graduating in 1972 with a degree in Photo Design from the University of Essen. He co-founded VISUM, Germany’s first photographer-owned photo agency, the following year. In 1975, he moved to Hamburg and began working for Geo, Stern, Spiegel, Zeit-Magazin, Time, and Life, as well as photographing advertising campaigns.
Gerd re-located to New York 1984 and continued to photograph for major international publications. In the early 1990s, he signed on as a contract photographer for National Geographic Magazine, focusing on the social changes in Germany and Eastern Europe. This work resulted in the publication of his book, Broken Empire: After the Fall of the USSR, a ten-year retrospective published by National Geographic. Gerd is a veteran of the renowned A Day in the Life book series; he exhibits his work in galleries and festivals, such as the Perpignan Visa pour L’Image; occasionally shoots advertising; and has won numerous photographic awards, including the IPA’s 2006 Lucie Award for International Photographer of the Year.
Now based in Los Angeles, Gerd has photographed in over 70 countries across the globe. He continues to lecture at universities and photographic workshops throughout the world and, when not photographing for National Geographic, shoots advertising.