As a child, I did gymnastics and acrobatics. I’d love to show you a photo of proud little Anja in her pink and purple leotard. But I can’t.

I don’t have a single photo from that time!

Forgotten childhood memories

When you run your own business, there’s usually a big driver behind what you do and why you do it.

I’m a documentary family and portrait photographer and filmmaker. I work with wonderful families that have kids of all ages. I also work with small businesses and individuals that want or need some beautiful portraits for themselves, for work, for social media… for anything really.

For a long time my answer to the question “why photography” was: I love photographing and documenting life and making people see how beautiful they are.

That’s still 100% true but only recently I really understood where my motivation and passion for these things come from.

Let’s go back “a few” years.

As a child I would never sit still. I climbed on everything – and fell down constantly. So I climbed back up. Over and over.
My parents decided to put me in a kid’s gymnastics class when I was about 4 years old. At 5 or 6 I progressed to acrobatics to join my sister Jana.

We trained once a week and I loved it –  the pop music in a language I didn’t understand we would warm up to (I specifically remember being obsessed with Kylie Minogue’s “Locomotion”), bouncing around, climbing up high and learning routines. It didn’t feel like sport, it was fun.

On weekends, my sister and I travelled to exotic places like Wurzen (which was a 20min train ride away from my home town Leipzig) with our group and coaches to compete against other regional acrobatic athletes.

I walked away with a handful of certificates, Jana got a few medals even. There are no photos though.

I don’t have a single image of myself in my little pink and purple leotard – training, posing or performing. I only recently realised that that’s the case.

This is something I really regret not having. And I don’t think that my sister and I are the only ones missing documentation of our childhood hobbies and successes.


Growing up in the GDR (aka East Germany), sports were a very common thing to do after school. It’s very similar now but the sentiment seems a bit different. Today, parents seem a lot more involved compared to how things were when I was a kid.

Granted, I’m fast approaching my 40s (very very fast actually but that’s another story) so time obviously has changed. I see parents cheer, support and accompany their kids at rehearsals, training and competitions. And everyone has their phones ready to catch that proud face after a specifically big achievement.

I wish I had that growing up.

I think that’s the reason why I love documenting family life so much today. I don’t want children to grow up without having visual proof of what they spent their time doing. Thats’ not just for self-indulgence when they’re older. Knowing where we came from, who we were surrounded by and what lessons we learned is incredibly important to understand who we are as adults.

Over time, memories fade. Seeing a single image can bring back so many other things that happened around that moment – on the day and even during the week.

Cesar Kuriyama, the Founder of the brilliant app One Second Everyday, explains this so well in his ted Talk:

This is what drives me to document life – not just that of my clients but my own. In 20 years’ time, I want to remember the things I did today. Because I created this life for me, I put a lot of energy, love, effort and tears into who and where I am now.

I’ve nearly finished a second year of taking photos every single day. Looking at these images is like watching my life unfold in front of me. There’s nothing better than the beauty of the ordinary for me.

If you’re curious to see what my past year has looked like, follow me on my Instagram account that I use as a photo album for that reason. And here’s a slideshow of the half-year milestone of my current Project 365:

So back to my photographic childhood… My parents both took photos of our family but they basically stopped when I was about 6 years old. I was the last of 3 kids and life was probably not as exciting anymore once we all outgrew the baby stages. From that point on, my childhood was documented very scarcely. And because I wasn’t used to having a camera pointed at me, I tried to hide from it growing older and didn’t like photos of myself.

It’s actually proven that seeing ourselves on photos and videos growing up helps our self-esteem. I previously wrote an article about how photos help raise children to be more confident if you’re interested in that topic.

Anyway, I do regret not having more photos of myself, my siblings, my parents and my grandparents throughout the years. It’s almost as if I’m now trying to catch up on collecting moments. Obviously, the past is past. What’s gone can’t be recreated. But what I can do today, is capture the people and memories that are important to me now. So that’s what I do.


So, what does your life look like? Have you got photos of your own childhood? Are you capturing moments your children might want to remember later? If you don’t but would like to change that, get in touch with me now and let’s have a chat about how I can help you. Let’s create some photographs together that will represent your family life now the way your children experience it.

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Unconventional Family Photos

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