Michael Papendieck - Pictures, Art, Photography

Michael Papendieck

Background Information about Michael Papendieck


Body Discipline: Artwork in Dance

The Brunswick photographer Michael Papendieck works closely with the Brunswick dance scene, as well as with the German and international dance theatre scenes. A lecturer in photography and a professional photographer, his dance series began with the book project “Braunschweig, ich tanz in dir…” (“Brunswick, I dance in you…”). It features dancers Verena Wilhelm and Christian Weiß, as well as many other performers, whom he visited during rehearsals on theatre stages, in studios, and in ballrooms. Together with these dancers he created a “photographic choreography” with intricate lighting and diverse combinations of costumes, outfits, and props such as hanging cloths or ropes. These accessories stand in dialogue with the dancers to produce an intimate discourse. He brings together dance and art, the part and the whole, and one has the impression the photography and staging are supported by musical elements that capture the mood of the photographer and give the dancers wings.

To him, dancers are “models” in the artistic sense, bringing with them their own ideas, abilities, physical elasticity, and body performance. In this interplay between strict body discipline, talent, experience, and the physical limits of different dancers, the gentleness of the images is key. At no point does one feel the series involved dancers being mistreated, ordered around, or being asked to do anything they could not already master.

He is at his best with photographic perspectives, with special light and focus effects, and with the unique combination of permanent lighting and flash, which he uses to bring out the atmosphere of the stage or illuminate a spot in the darkness.

He never freezes the movement. That perfect moment of gentle stretching and relaxation is crucial to him, and his images therefore seem like snapshots from another era, one in which “real time” appears suspended, almost set free, and the figures float in a black space as if lost in a nocturnal universe. The floor itself is rarely touched by the dancers suspended above, and this “lifting” of time and space ensures an effective dynamic from a unique perspective.

Michael Papendieck continues to share his experience, his tips and tricks, and the new techniques he has conquered, with his students. He continues to create photo books that read more like diaries than dry textbooks. Finally, he continues to learn from his students as representatives of a younger generation, one that has different experiences to him and brings him into a constant interaction with innovative ideas.

Christina Wendenburg


1970Born in Germany
Studies of Natural sciences at TU Braunschweig/ TiHo Hannover
Since 2005Free Lecturer, Author and Photographer
Since 2009Phototrainer at the FF-Photoschool, Hamburg


2011International Salon-Circuit of Art Photography FIAP Award, Ukraine
2010Special Theme Super Circuit, Austria