Curator Selection / 2020 / /
Important Things in Life
A leprosy village at the Atlantic coast in West Afrika.
Here leprosy belongs to everyday life. But the disease is not excluded.
The patients are living together with their families.
Most of them lose fingers and toes due to the disease and go blind at a later stage.
These people live at the base of life. They try every day to cope with the present and to find a way into the future.
In the beginning it was like exploring the past.
Soon, however, the courage and the warmth of the people lead you on a journey that brings the important things in our life back into consciousness.
Franz G. Messenbaeck is a photographer and surgeon in Bischofshofen, Austria. He considers both professions as complementary. The precision of surgery influences photography, aesthetic sensibilities of photography bring advantages in surgery. Franz G. Messenbaeck started photographing during his time as a student of medicine in Vienna and gained his first experiences in the darkroom in 1985. Fascinated by the American landscape photographers of the last century, he decided to work with a large format camera at quite an early date. For the last six years, Franz has only been recording pictures on a digital camera. Previously, he had concentrated on black-and-white shots, but the digital workflow also disclosed the world of colour photography to him. For four years, Franz G. Messenbaeck has been working as a professional photographer now. His passion is landscape photography. In addition, he runs a small but fine portrait studio in the city of Bischofshofen near Salzburg in Austria. He travels a lot, mainly to the American West and to Northern Europe, where he enjoys the solitary landscapes full of structures and abstractions. These landscapes are a welcome counterpoint to the surgical work too. In 2013 Franz G. Messenbaeck was awarded the prestigious Master QEP (Master Qualified European Photographer) by the Federation of European Professional Photographers (FEP).