The Germans take carnival really, really serious. Starting on November 11 at 11:11 am, the so-called “Narrenzeit” (jester season) lasts almost three months, altough the main events are all concentrated in the four weeks preceding Fat Tuesday. Dating back to the 15th century, it’s original function was to drive out the winter and bring joy and happiness back into the dark, dreadful days of the cold time. The idea behind it hasn’t changed much over the centuries. To this day, people get away with stuff during the fifth season that might otherwise get them into serious trouble, like cutting their boss’s tie off.
All over the country, carnival societies have formed that maintain and promote the traditions. One of these societies is the “Narrhalla” in Munich, which was founded in 1893. The name is an amalgamation of the words “Narr” (jester) and “Walhalla,” the Bavarian Hall of Fame. Originally established to promote a carnival procession in Munich, Narrhalla has established itself as the definitive carnival institution in the Bavarian capital. They officially open the jester season with the enthronement ceremony of their carnival prince and princess, which takes place at 11:11 am exactly one month before Fat Tuesday at Munich’s prestigious central square, the Marienplatz. The event marks the beginning of four weeks of glamorous balls, hilarious parties and pranks, pranks, pranks.
Together with my colleague Tom Soyer (no joke, that’s his real name – he calls me Jacklberry Finn), I got to look behind the scenes last Saturday as this year’s “Royal Couple” prepared for their coronation ceremony. We met them at 8:00 am in their suite at the prestigious hotel “Bayerischer Hof,” where Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid I. of the Upper Bavarian Chamber of Crafts was just getting her make-up done. Unfortunately, I couldn’t shoot the actual enthronement because I had to head out for another assignment afterward, but there are tons of pictures of that online all over the place. This look behind the scenes however is pretty unique, so I hope you’ll enjoy it!
Hair and make-up artist Dilek Sahin puts the finishing touches on the make-up of Narrhalla Princess Astrid I. (Astrid Dengler) in her suite at the hotel Bayrischer Hof before the enthronement ceremony at Marienplatz in Munich, Saturday, January 12, 2013. This assignment was also a great exercise for off-camera flash use because I had to deal with three mirrors framed around the subject that reflected large parts of the room. The spot-like light on the princess and the make-up artist that casts this amazing shadow however was unintended and remains unexplicable to me as the strobe was directed against the ceiling. Another wonderful example for the flukes of luck that sometimes happen to us photographers...
Dilek Sahin fixes Astrid Dengler's hair before the enthronement ceremony.
Astrid Dengler holds a 100-year-old tiara in her hand that was lent to her for her tenure as Carnival Princess by the gold smiths' guild of Upper Bavaria.
The 2013 Narrhalla Princess puts on her tiara for the enthronement ceremony.
Prince Manuel I. (Manuel di Nardo) and Princess Astrid I. (Astrid Dengler) walk from their suite at hotel Bayerischer Hof to be taken to Marienplatz for the enthronement ceremony.
The previous year's prince and "royal" driver Niklas Schreier takes Narrhalla Prince Manuel I. (Manuel di Nardo) and Princess Astrid I. (Astrid Dengler) to Marienplatz for the enthronement ceremony.
January 14, 2013
Happy New Year everyone out there! To all my family, friends, near ones and dear ones: I wish you all the best for 2013 and that all your wishes, hopes and dreams come true. I hope you had a wonderful time last night and were able to celebrate with those you care about. Beth and I took it really easy and spent a quiet and relaxing evening at home. At 10:30 we went to the Friedensengel in Munich, where I had to shoot the fireworks and the New Years celebration for the Süddeutsche. At first we were the only ones there along with maybe 20 other people, but little by little the place filled up until there were several thousand people waiting for the bell to toll midnight. They unleashed the most incredible fireworks I have ever seen, and at times the scencery reminded me more of a war zone rather than downtown Munich. It was gigantic. I hope you enjoy these images as much as I enjoyed making them!
January 1, 2013
Two weeks ago, Beth and I finally made it to Bayreuth to visit my brother Hansi, his wife Katrin and my two adorable nieces Lisa and Clara. It was only the second time that I got to see Clara, who was born in May last year while we were still in the States. Even though I didn’t notice it while I was shooting, I found when I went through the take that most of my pictures of that weekend are of Clara. I guess I’ll just have to go back to Bayreuth and take some more pictures of Lisa…
March 15, 2012
My two girls were reeeeally tired today. It was heart-melting…
Beth and Tombolina nap by each other on our couch today.
February 5, 2012