From trying to photograph the wind. Lithuania has the highest suicide rate in Europe. Hannes Jung examines the background in his work “How is Life?”.
Text: Finn Winkler Fotos: Hannes Jung
In his photography, Hannes Jung has long been interested in how people deal with crises in life. As he walks across a bridge for research in South Korea, he sees a sign urging people not to throw themselves to their deaths. Back at home, he begins to research the subject of suicide.
He travels to Lithuania with a research grant from the Bosch Foundation. Together with a journalist friend, he wants to find out why the suicide rate in the Baltic state has been more than twice as high as the EU average for years. Not only the search for female protagonists, but also dealing with them poses difficulties.
Hannes knows that he definitely doesn’t want to retraumatize people through his work. “We had to respond to each person individually,” he recalls. Many of those affected tell him that, despite everything, it is good to be able to talk about their experiences. Some of the protagonists are pleased that Hannes has come all the way from Germany for the report.
Death is an abstract subject. To portray him is difficult. But Hannes concludes, “Maybe the wind can’t be photographed. But you can try to capture its effect, how it moves and changes the sea and the trees.”
The resulting work “How is Life” will be exhibited in Copenhagen, Brussels and Perpignan, among other places. He also takes the project to various photo editors: ZEIT magazine then sends him across Germany to photograph female jazz musicians in the same particular aesthetic. Hannes Jung wins the “n-ost Reportage-Preis” and the “Prix Mark Grosset” with the project, he also receives an award at the “College Photographer of the Year”.
If your thoughts revolve around taking your life, various organizations offer help and ways out:
Telephone counselling: 0800/111 0 111 or 0800/111 0 222. There, employees are available around the clock, with whom concerns and fears can be shared. The telephone counselling service also offers a chat.
For children and young people, there is also the “Nummer gegen Kummer” (number against sorrow) – available Monday to Saturday from 2 to 8 p.m. on 11 6 111 or 0800/111 0 333. Mail counseling for young people is also available through the U25 Germany website and through Jugendnotmail.
Help – also in Turkish – is offered by the Muslim pastoral care telephone “MuTeS” at 030/44 35 09 821. The employees there are available 24 hours a day.
The German Society for Suicide Prevention has listed an overview of other services:
Your contact partners will be happy to assist you with your personal concerns. However, due to the large number of enquiries, we ask you to first check our FAQ to see if your question may already have been answered.