the one way or the other

March 27, 2015 - single portrait

a few years ago i ran into a group of teeange punks on one of munich’s largest public transport stations. i talked to them for a while and asked for portraits. i was with them for about half an hour shooting, talking, laughing, bit flirting to make those kids smile and feel comfort who had these sad faces lost children have … until police officers showed up for an identity check and questioning which ended with a dismissal for the whole group. i was able to take two more shots of the questioning scene and then had been stopped by a serious warning.

i cannot tell you much about this girl. i know her name, her e-mail-adress and that she likes pink. she had a calm voice, a serious face but without the unrest and insecurity i observed in most of the other’s kids eyes. she without any fear she looked straight into my face and what i saw was just this: a silent beauty, open, honest and without significant secrets to hide. a look of a young adult with some experience, an attitude and a future plan. i hope i am right and she is now on a good way to create a satisfying future. i saw others who weren’t that lucky. the decision (if you have one) for the one way or the other is often too easy to take. while the one feels like fun and relaxation in the first place one day you start freezing on the street in winter times, you run for drugs all day and worse. the other feels like square mindness, subordination, pressure and unfreedom in the first place before you aim your goals of personal wishes, career, domestic happyness and whatever. the gap between the one and the other can be very, very thin and hard to see. when i was with those kids on that station this particular afternoon i saw both in most of their faces. each of them already went a few steps in one or the other direction.

i often thought of coming back to that place. normally stray kids come to the same places time and again even when they get dismissed or arrested. they are creatures of habit more that “ordinary” people. sometimes i was quite close doing it. but, to be honest, i am afraid to see the same kids with different faces. i am afraid to find them. i am afraid to meet this girl again. because that would mean she took the wrong turn. i prefer to imagine her on a surfboard with her hair in the wind, laughing and taming waves …

› tags: 100strangers / canon 5d / digital / germany / munich / photography / portrait /


  1. Trill, I love your stories about those kids so much, I hope that you will publish the other teenagers’ portraits and stories, actually I share your kinda fear to know their fate, but these pictures and stories really make me curious

    • yes, i plan to display all kids i talked to and photographed back then. i always think of them when i am a this train station but i always rush through and don’t look if i can see them … it’s a huge station whoch makes it possible to escape. it is still one of my favorite projects and i always wanted to make a book about. perhaps i should go through the archive and process them again, maybe find some forgotten jewels and finally create a blurb book. but first i start here. thank you very much for your encouragement and for make me think about “further action”.

  2. Bob Hobza says:

    Tril, With all of your professional life, social life and travel, how do you find the time to do all of this wonderfully, interesting photography and the writeups too? Good for you. Hope you are well and enjoying your life. You are amazing!

    • hey dad, you made me smile quite britely this morning hearning from you. well, actually i don’t have much time doing all this together. i limited my internet activity to this project recently, neglecting my other blogs unfortunately. but it is a matter of the heart to keep this 100strangers thingy going. it gives me much personally as you might imagine. i try to feed the photoblog you sometimes visit to let you see my other pictures, too. life treats me nicely anyway. i am going on another trip end of the week. if i have time i write you via email more before or even afterwards. t’s gonna be amazing. hugs for you and mom. i miss you and the california sun severely,

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