Life Dies in Absence of Love

Hans von Sonntag

On 9 Nov 1989, a producer I’ve never met unpacked a brand-new, latest and greatest Sony Betacam. Outside, down the window, Berlin’s streets are busy like every day. But we know it already. The Berlin Wall is going to break down today. The gates will be open soon, and the world will be very different. In the afternoon, I take up the position at the entrance of Bornholmer Strasse, the infamous border crossing to the GDR.

I can’t recall why I was the apprentice to take that Betacam ENG camera and document the following history-making events for broadcasters worldwide. But that 48-hour shoot hooked me forever. 

Today, having a long career as a DoP and director in the advertising industry, I am still stunned by the power of storytelling. Writing, directing and photographing stories is my passion. But my kids, the climate emergency, the divisive politics, the culture wars and the populists threatening democracy made me adjust the purpose of my work.

I see it as my duty to support society’s progressive forces to make a livable future happen.