The Dust Layer (Released) by Lukas Rapp

We did it. Almost a year later - THE DUST LAYER - is online. 

Kosovo B

Kosovo B

Adrian, Anna and me worked really hard on the homepage and tried to make it comprehensible but in a depth that will reach beyond a usual article in any kind of newspaper. We are aware that it takes time to read, but it's worth it. It will give you an understanding on how people live around the two power plants and even the situation improved over time, it is still not good enough. 

Some readers, maybe from Germany, who lived around the coal mines, know the feeling, the smell and the situation many Kosovars from the region are facing. It is not only the smell and dust, there are increased cancer and respiratory ailments, resettlements, ripping families, friends and school classes apart. 

Starting from health issues, the costs of electricity and the connection to a long-distance heating are as well some more problems for the people. Many of them around use lignite to heat their homes, because they don't have a connection to the heating system and using electricity for a heating unit is just too expensive. You can't even afford it in Germany. Considering the difference between the income in Kosovo, that is not an option to think about.

When walking and driving around Pristina and talking to locals you felt that everyone has an opinion about the power plant, and there was always a negative touch, because they all agree that both, Kosovo A and B, have no future.

What is time? And what is it good for? by Lukas Rapp

While being on assignment at the St. Gallen Symposium in Switzerland in Mai I photographed several political and corporate figures to find out, how they use their time and what they have to say about the time already invested in their career.

There are studies conducted, which show that from eight hours in the office, we only work three efficiently. Some other show that if employers reduce the working time from eight to six hours workers not only produce the 100% they still have to do, but they increase the outcome up to 120% as a result of being more happy (Sweden). In many jobs it is already set that all three meals a day are taken at the office place, not only decreasing family and social time, but also decreasing the value we give towards food, the fuel for our body.

On the other side, today's life opens up new possibilities, which allow people to really work what they love and what they passionate about and the lines between leisure time and work time just blur. It is surely healthier, than waking up every morning and feeling that dragging themselves to work is the worst they will have to do today. Day in and day out. But I see it as a dangerous trend, as we need the feeling of not having any responsibility for any hours to readjust the power and will to work for several decades.

Another important fact is, that people sleep too less and the quality decreases as well. As researches found out, the brain cleans itself while we are sleeping, keeping us healthy, so with the hours of sleep dropping this natural health cycle looses its power.

So, if you would write down your 24 hours a day, what would be your cycle?

Here is the link to the full project: #TIMELESS #LESSTIME

The Dust Layer by Lukas Rapp

Currently I am in Kosovo to finally produce the multimedia content I am researching for 1 1/2 years with my team. I've been working hard on this, especially to find a way to fund the trip. Finally we made it. We arrived last week on Friday, after almost one week, I gathered around 60 GB of material. Videos, photographs, audio recordings... and it's not yet done. Two more days to go.

Update: 21.03.2016

We've been back for a week now. Each of us in his or her country. All the material gathered, all the impressions we got, it needs to be settled. Speaking for myself, I can say that often interviews really touched me, especially when I imagined that the situation is already for ages like this. The smell, the air, the pollution, the discomfort in daily life. As a journalist, we are there to discover, to point at things that are wrongfully, but we are also humans, so sometimes it is not easy to cope with this situation.

It was my first field trip, like really in the field, through bushes and mud. There are some things I realised very quickly and I thought I'd share them with you.

  1. Clothes: Take pants and jackets you feel comfy in, don't care about the style, take shoes which are warm and jackets which keep you warm. A coat is definitely not the right choice. REMEMBER that. Especially if you are reporting about an environment topic, bring good shoes, when standing there for hours, you will remember my words.
  2. Time: After spending around 10 days day and night out there, you still feel that it was not enough and you could have done more or done better with more time. Plan three weeks, if possible. I realised that every day there was a new connection, a new piece of the puzzle that fitted in. So not only you will have more time to evolve the story, but you will also have the time to rest for a day.
  3. Scheduling: Get as much contacts before the trip and write people beforehand and plan plan plan. Once you are on the ground, it will not work out as planned, but at least you got contacts and you can react quickly.
  4. Be Spontaneous: What I mean by that is to be open to talk with people about your project you've never met before. Sure the feeling has to be right, but to give you an example. My first contact got another one who translated in the end for us. He, the translator, knew a guy who operates drones. One thing leads to another. A guy in the hostel had a friend who is very much into that topic and has a NGO working with the environment, so we got his contact and he, in return, helped us to get to know other people. It is luck, but it is also a skill to feel these kind of opportunities. 
  5. Shotlist: A thing I haven't done before, but maybe I should have done it, latest after the first day. As a photographer, you can help yourself in writing frames down you want to have. The same for an interview, what do you want. Better take 20 GB more than too less. Create a form to print for every interview, not to forget names, contacts and very important, if you interview minors, a media release.
  6. Team: Especially for me as a photographer, I valued to have a team with and around me. It gives me the freedom to sneak around the happening, take the frames I need and want. People get focused on someone else and forget you and your creepy lens, that helps a lot to capture what you really want - life.

These points sound obvious and are very simple, and experienced reporters might know them by heart, but sometimes a topic grabs your full attention, so having things written down that keep reminding you every day, not only don't you forget things, but it will make you a better journalist and researcher.

New Year - New Design by Lukas Rapp

A happy new year to all of you. I thought I start off the 2016 with a new design. Same minimalistic like the last one, but more structured. You can now see as well my short movies on my page, as they are embedded. In mid 2016 you will be able to buy some of my prints or postcards here online.

I have upcoming projects and those I am still working on:

  • The Dust Layer
  • Unmasked
  • Blue Screen
  • A tenner

Other projects will be done within the next three months. I will travel to Jamaica and maybe in a crisis region to enhance my photography.

Stay tuned.