Reportage / Freie Projekte

Europe, Poland, Brozek: Some "playing fields" include their own fleet of vehicles with civilian and military vehicles.

Die Arbeit "I died 22 times" von Rafael Heygster zeigt und hinterfragt den Umgang unserer Gesellschaft mit "Krieg" ausserhalb realer Schlachtfelder."

In Deutschland herrscht seit über 70 Jahren offiziell Frieden. Doch Krieg zeigt sich nicht nur als militärischer Konflikt auf Schlachtfeldern mit klaren physischen Fronten, sondern taucht in abstrakterer Form in unserer Gesellschaft an verschiedenen Stellen auf.

Die Arbeit setzt sich minder Frage auseinander „Wo fängt Krieg an?“ und kombiniert Motive unterschiedlicher Szenarien miteinander. So werden Bilder von Waffenmessen (Krieg als Geschäft) mit Fotos von Airsoft, einer Freizeitbeschäftigung (Krieg als Spiel) kombiniert. 

Trotz unterschiedlicher inhaltlicher Tragweite haben alle gezeigten Szenarien eine Gemeinsamkeit: Niemand stirbt. „Krieg“ wird als etwas unterhaltsames und gleichzeitig harmloses inszeniert - und dadurch als konsumierbares Ereignis erlebt. An dieser Arbeit fotografiert Rafael Heygster laufend weiter und erarbeit regelmässig neue Kapitel. 

Asia, United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi: young soldiers marching in their dress uniforms on the International Defense Exhibition and Conference (IDEX).
Europe, Poland, Brozek: High school student Eddy P. went with friends to an Airsoft "game" and has not often participated in such games and has only one Airsoft pistol. This is a staged portrait- I asked Eddy to pose for me and to look into the camera.
Asia, United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi: At the opening ceremony of the IDEX International Defense Exhibition and Conference in Abu Dhabi, technical innovations in the defense industry are presented to potential customers in a 20-minute play using pyrotechnics, actors and multimedia storytelling.
Eruope, Germany, Hamburg: Airsoft player Len with girlfriend Nina and the boxer Diego in his apartment in Hamburg. His great-grandmother was killed by the Nazis in the concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. He says that "playing" with airsoft guns is just a game for him and has nothing to do with real war.
Asia, United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi: A trade fair visitor is watching a demonstration of combat aircraft and warships at IDEX in Abu Dhabi.
Europe, Germany, Saxony-Anhalt, Mahlwinkel: Makabre Staging: Trash bags filled with straw are supposed to imitate body bags. They are part of a multi-day airsoft festival in Mahlwinkel.
Asia, United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi Business people of various backgrounds gather information about a vehicle equipped with machine guns at IDEX.
Europe, Poland, Brozek: In a former bunker on an Airsoft playground in Poland , the participants sit together, drink beer and listen to music on the eve before the game starts
Europe, Poland, Brozek: The fleet of a Polish airsoft "playing field" at Brozek also includes a discarded, Russian T55 tank. For the fun of the participants round trips are offered with the combat vehicle.
Europe, Poland, Brozek: The secret highlight of "Operation Endzeit - Rolling Steel" is the appearance of a stripper on the last evening. Their appearance was already days before topic of conversation among the participants.
EUROPE, GERMNAY, ESSEN, 29.05.2018: The airsoft player Jan - Fighting Name "Bones" - has a whole arsenal of airsoft weapons, which he keeps under his mattress. The airsoft weapons cost depending on detail and features three- to four-digit amounts.
Asia, United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi: Employees of an armaments company wait for customers at their booth at IDEX.
EUROPE, GERMNAY, ESSEN, 29.05.2018: The airsoft player Jan - Fighting Name "Bones" - has a whole arsenal of airsoft weapons, which he keeps under his mattress. The airsoft weapons cost depending on detail and features three- to four-digit amounts.
Asia, United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi: International trade fair visitors are filming jet fighter maneuvers at IDEX in the United Arab Emirates.
Europe, Germany, Rhineland-Palatinate, Koblenz: Manuel K. works as a gardener. He has been operating Airsoft for about a year, after a friend introduced him to the game. Because one moves in the "Airsoft games" in nature, he likes Airsoft more than video games. This is a staged portrait. After a day of playing airsoft, I asked Manuel to pose for a portrait and to look into the camera in the safe-zone of the playing field.
“ I Died 22 Times“
Europe, Czech Republic, Brno: Two spectators watch a live demonstration on the "Family Day" at an armaments fair in the Czech Republic, where the staged firefight with blank cartridges and buten smoke grenades also involves the actors being "shot." After the performance, all actors stand up and leave the arena alive.
Europe, Poland, Brozek: A "playing field" near Brozek in Poland, a few kilometres over the German border. This field is run by Germans. As Polish laws are more relaxed than in Germany, players are allowed to adjust their weapons so that they can shoot faster, harder and further. You can also buy pyrotechnics from small stalls every few hundred metres as you approach the field.
Europe, Germany, Essen: The carpenter Jan L. comes from a family of hunters and grew up with weapons. He is a gun guy and can disassemble and reassemble Airsoft pistols and guns in a short time. This is not staged. I did not arrange anything, but I Jan knew that i visit him to take pitures of him at home, while he is doing waht he does in his everyday life. He is aware that I am present in this situation, but i did not ask Jan to pose like this for me .
Die Zwillinge Tobias (oben) und Marcus (unten) B. kommen aus Unterfranken und sind extra zur Operation „Dark Emergency“ nach Sachsen-Anhalt angereist. Tobias arbeitet als Elektriker, Marcus ist Soldat bei der Bundeswehr.
Europe, Germany, Henstedt-Rohlsdorf: Matthias V. during an "airsoft game" during the Christmas season. He has leased the area and organizes "games" as well as workshops whose content is based on military training.
Asia, United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi: A military band leaves the stage after their appearance during the opening ceremony of the IDEX. A security guard is watching the spectators.
EUROPE, CZECH REPUBLIC, BRNO 15.09.2019: Two Generals sit together at an booth on an arms Fair in Brno.
Europe, Poland, Brozek: Participants in an Airsoft game try to drive out a sniper hidden in the scrub with smoke grenades.

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Rafael Heygster

Hannover, Bremen, Leipzig

Rafael Heygster wurde 1990 wurde in Bremen geboren und studierte Kulturanthropologie in Hamburg sowie Fotojournalismus in Hannover & Dänemark.

Seine Arbeiten setzen sich aus humanistischer Perspektive mit dem Verhältnis von Individuen und ihrem sozialen, politischen und kulturellen Umfeld auseinander. 

Seine Arbeiten wurden vielfach national sowie international ausgestellt und ausgezeichnet.

Er fotografiert neben freien Langzeitprojekten im Auftrag für Magazine, Firmen und NGOs.


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