For me, photography means preserving the beautiful. For as long as I can remember, I have been afraid of losing the beautiful. Afraid that beauty melts away as soon as it appears. Like a wisp of mist that cannot be  held on to. But fear and beauty do not get along because fear crowds out everything beautiful. There is not enough room in our hearts for fear and beauty. Beauty is shy, pure and timid. Beauty wants to unfold, to leap from person to person. Beauty is contagious. Beauty does not want to follow rules or targets or ideals. Beauty just wants to be, in you, in me, in nature, in our environment. Beauty wants to be discovered. Beauty lies in the depth of beings, be they humans or animals.

I prefer to take photos when no one takes any notice because then there is no discomfort on the part of the other person. It is always much more difficult to photograph a person when they do not love themselves, are not at peace with themselves or are not happy with the way they look. Yet beauty is embedded, hidden in every person, no matter how old they are, no matter how fat or thin they are. I call it drawing out a person through my photography when I manage to capture the essence, the personality.

The essence of a person is hidden in their eyes and in the corners of their mouth. 
This is also the case with animals. Even a bird can look at you in an amazing way, birds of prey or storks look very impressive. Birds of prey can even recognise the human eye at a great distance, even if you are wearing camouflage they recognise you by your eyes. Animals have a strong expression in their faces: they laugh, smile at each other or laugh at you. Animals can stick their tongue out at you, they look annoyed, satisfied or bored. 
They are not afraid of me as long as I do not act in a threatening way. When I photograph animals and I am alone in nature, I immediately become happy and calm. I feel no restlessness, no fear, no pressure, there is no expectation, no noise, it is just fine the way it is, the way it should be.

Environmental destruction and thoughtless behaviour hurt me, I also clearly feel the consequences of climate change, especially in the Alps. Nature and animals, indeed every single plant laments its suffering for us to hear, but we do not listen. 
I often want to shout out loud into the world: Let us preserve beauty, all of us together! There would be so much room for beauty in our hearts. Our hearts are made for beauty, not for fear and destruction. 
My wish is to be able to share through my photos the beauty I feel – as an attempt against disintegration, against fear and for hope.

Photographer: Ariane Totzke @besondersschwierig – –