Thomas Karsten

The German photographer Thomas Karsten (age 55) received this year's Michael Horbach Foundation Award for Photography. Thomas Karsten received the award for his work 60 Bicycles for Uganda  and Foundation MUKISA, Uganda from the year 2011. 60 Bicycles for Uganda documents a relief operation, achieved through great personal dedication, in which bicycles were distributed to needy families. The families use the bicycles to earn their living as couriers.

Foundation MUKISA portrays mothers with disabled children, a topic which meets with fears and prejudice everywhere, not just in Uganda. Both works take part in the exhibition Wounds - Five Artists in Five Spaces from May 1 to August 20, 2013.

"Thomas Karsten photographs with a welcoming yet unassuming eye, one that neither rises above his subject nor makes the photographer the secret subject of the picture. Quite the contrary. His subtle compositions, discreet lighting and empathy for others bring into focus exactly that which socially committed photography should be all about: People and their lives," says Michael Horbach about the prizewinner.

About Thomas Karsten

Thomas Karsten was born in Eisenach, Thuringia in 1985. The GDR regime prevented him from receiving academic training, but he found his first mentor in photography in the early 80's - the photographer and university lecturer Evelyn Richter.

In 1982, Karsten left the GDR for the West.  He continued his career as a freelance photographer and Stefan Moses's assistant in Munich. He has worked freelance since 1983 and made a name with portraits and nudes. His work has appeared in Stern, Art, Eltern, Nerve (New York) and Capital. His first book, Thomas - mach ein Bild von uns, was published by CJ Bucher  and received the prestigious Kodak Photo Book Prize in 1988. Many of his 17 books published since are considered icons of nude and portrait photography. His work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums both at home and abroad.

Thomas Karsten has also been active as a cameraman for about five years,. His short film "A Good Catholic Girl" (2011) ran at the Cannes Film Festival. His feature film "State Research Bureau" (2010) won the award for Best Cinematography at the Pearl Film Festival.

Thomas Karsten married the Ugandan woman Joanita Karsten (maiden name Tusubira) in   2010 and has since photographed several collections of work in that East African country,  including the two series honored with the prize from the Michael Horbach Foundation.

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