The timelessness of image and music

Die Zeitlosigkeit von Bild und Musik

Compagnon is a brand for creative minds. Here we introduce you to one of these creative minds, who is not only addicted to photography, but also to music and nostalgia. Daniel Wanders talks about his tour through Germany, where he met and photographed many interesting people. We can present his great results to you here.

In recent years, sales of vinyl records have risen sharply again. But it was never dead! On the one hand, nostalgics are succumbing to the incomparable charm of crackling audio tracks, while on the other, collector circles have long since grown up around the "black gold", whose "nuggets" are highly coveted and traded at high prices worldwide. I wanted to dedicate my new photo project to all these vinyl fetishists. Who are these crazy collectors, some of whom have been chasing long-forgotten treasures for more than 30 years?

Of course, I didn't just want to take portrait photos. I wanted to show the people and the sparkle in their eyes when these enthusiasts pull one of their treasures out of its long-yellowed case. But the setting was just as important. How do these nostalgia lovers live? How do they store the tons of vinyl in their homes?


The first selection of candidates was pretty easy for me. As I'm one of these nerds myself, I had enough contacts for the first trip. The summer vacation was reserved, my backpack 2.0 was packed and I was ready to go.

My journey first took me to Switzerland to visit Peter Wermelinger. This impressive man has been working continuously on his "Funky & Groovy Music Lexicon" for more than 30 years. His book documents all the sigs and LPs that are funky and groovy, in other words the ultimate encyclopaedia for every soul and funk collector. He tells me about the times when there were no scanners. He had to travel all over the world to get pictures of LP covers and labels. He tells me how he painstakingly cut out the photos, glued them on and prepared them for printing. Of course, it's much easier today. So it is all the more fascinating for me to hold the artwork for the first edition of the encyclopedia in my hands in Peter's cellar.


In Munich I meet Jan Weißenfels, aka J. J. Whitefield, the older of the two brothers who founded the "Peots of Rhythm" together in the early 90s. Jan is a thoroughbred musician, is currently touring with "Funky Rob" from Ghana and therefore has a tight schedule. Nevertheless, we spend the afternoon in the Poets' music studio in downtown Munich, reflecting on the development of the collector scene and Jan tells me about his early trips to the USA to "dig" records. After a few studio shots, we head across Munich to his home. Jan doesn't take offense when I give him the title "old hippie". We're about the same age, but that's what I immediately think of after he puts on his stage poncho for the photo session. And that's exactly what he is. Through and through. That's why I like the resulting pictures all the more.

Other stations in Munich are Tobias Kirmayer from Tramprecords and Florian Keller. I've had a close friendship with Tobias for years and we released the Feeling Nice compilation together. Together with Hermann Jahn, we meet regularly in Munich to play the latest rare, unknown records. An exchange that has shaped me personally for years, so it was particularly important to me to capture one of our music sessions on film. Hermann Jahn is certainly one of the least known collectors in Germany, and you definitely wouldn't identify him as such on the street. But he is also one of the veterans. The English call him "Herman the German" in full recognition. Florian Keller lives in a former butcher's shop, certainly the most unusual apartment, but perfect for a photo session. In the back room, the records are stacked well-sorted up to the ceiling and Florian guides me through his more than 30 years of collecting history, from A to Z.

Another stop on the tour is Cologne, where I myself lived for almost ten years. I'm delighted to see all the faces from back then, to relive the old days and to browse through Matt Fox and Karsten John's vinyl vaults with good coffee and the smell of antique paper.


Of course, I use the time in addition to the shootings in dream weather to explore the city, street photography is also part of my passion for photography. The new subway stations of the Stadtbahn turned out to be the perfect photo spot. With my backpack on my back, I wander through my former neighborhoods in the cathedral city. An electric scooter takes me to the other side of the Rhine, the "Schälsick", where one of my favorite spots is waiting for me, the old Deutz harbour. The perfect opportunity to show off my baby and faithful companion among the old railroad tracks, train carriages and railroad cranes, the Backback 2.0 all in black.

Leaving Cologne behind me, Berlin welcomes me in equally sunny weather. So I'm off on another photo safari and after an extensive stroll through the city, I arrive at Marc Hype's house. Marc has not only been collecting for years, he is also a true artist at the turntables. With his label Dusty Donuts, he has dedicated himself entirely to small 7-inch singles. There's not much time for a chat, he has appointments and Hendrik Irmscher, Christian Göbel and Marc Forrest are already waiting for me. The three of them have been supplying Berlin's underground with the best sound of soul, funk and rhythm & blues for years, Marc's Hip City Soul Club celebrated its 29th anniversary this year.

The last stop on my two-week tour is Hamburg. There are just as many vinyl friends waiting for me here, but the last two days are reserved entirely for me and my camera. The harbor, the brick facades of the Speicherstatt and, last but not least, the Elbphilarmonie offer the perfect spots for architectural and street photography after the portrait session. And so I roam the streets of Hamburg with Backback on my back until deep into the night. Unfortunately, after a night session, I can't really enjoy the sunrise before the return journey, but it's in perfect shape for a good photo on the way home. In the end, I'm glad to be back in Freiburg.

Two weeks on the road, photo sessions from early in the morning until sometimes late at night. In the cities, mostly on foot, by streetcar or on an electric scooter. It was important that my equipment was always to hand and yet well stowed away. Spare batteries, my laptop, memory cards, charging cables and, and, and... last but not least, I always had at least two cameras with me. No problem thanks to my backpack, even on such a long trip. It's nice to know that you can rely on your travel companion, because the next trip is already waiting. There are vinyl lovers all over the world. Next stop: UK...

Check out Daniel here and visit him on Facebook and Instagram.

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