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Christian Machowski in the Atarazanas market hall in Malaga. S. Salas
'I capture moments through the eyes of a foreigner'
Christian Machowski Photographer

'I capture moments through the eyes of a foreigner'

His photos do more for a city's tourism than any promotional campaign. In 2015 he moved to the south of Spain and since then he hasn't stopped snapping

Ana Pérez-Bryan

Friday, 11 August 2023, 20:26

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He was looking for a hobby that would allow him to disconnect from the stress of his job as the owner of an agency that manages transfers, accommodation and a thousand other things that professional football teams competing in the Champions League need. When he first clicked a camera, he knew this was what he needed. Now, Christian Machowski, of German origin, but converted to the southern cause, lives glued to the lens; and not just for purely aesthetic reasons - his photos go viral as soon as they hit the net - but as a way of documenting his integration into the cities where he stays.

–How did this hobby start?

–I don't really remember, but I do know that I didn't have a hobby at the time. My father was a musician and creativity is in our DNA. In the past I only took photos with my mobile phone, but for the last five years I have been using different cameras and, when I moved from Benahavís to Malaga, I realised that photography allows me to document my integration into life in this country.

–And what has integration been like?

–That's very interesting. There was a first time for everything: the first fair, the first Easter, the first Christmas... Now, with a bit of distance and experience, I have seen that things in the city are different and photography is the opportunity to express my personality.

–You can tell from your photos that you are a sensitive, empathetic person.

–Yes, my intention is to take a positive view of everything.

–Do you take photos of negative things?

–Of course, but I don't publish them as I am a foreigner in this city. I have opinions about many things and I think it is difficult and dangerous to express my thoughts.

–And why don't you want to get involved? Is it through politeness or don't you want to be dragged into political correctness?

–I don't like to comment on things I don't fully understand or don't have all the information on. I don't know the whole story or people's feelings, so I prefer not to go into it.

–They say that you do more for the city with your photos than several tourism campaigns put together...

–(Laughs) Yes, I am responsible for a lot of the tourism around here. I have the view of a foreigner but today I am just another resident, with similar problems and worries as everyone else.

–Tell me about your love affair with Spain.

–Since 2005 I have worked a lot on the Costa del Sol in the winter for the pre-season of the football teams I work with. During those three or four years, the climate and the way of life were very good for my mental health, so in 2015 my wife and I decided to move south. We are very happy here.

–I'm sure you have already adopted some of the habits, the siesta, tapas, going to bed late...

–The clichés of living here are not the reality, in fact there was nothing that caught our attention. I think that when you aren't open-minded and don't accept that the culture of the place you are in is not the same as your own, you will have a problem. We decided to embrace that culture, there may be things we don't like, but that's our problem, not Spain's.

–Let's talk about your job, is it difficult to manage the egos of some of the big football teams?

–My job is crazy, I've been with the company since 1996. There have been more than 500 games, 38 different countries... And no, it's not very difficult to work with the stars. It doesn't matter if they are small or big teams, people are pretty standard. The difference is in the amount of travel, hotel, allowances... The footballers are young and you have to understand that they spend a lot of time in hotels and airports. In any case, we don't have much contact with them either, our job is on the outside, to make sure everything runs smoothly.

–What photo do you have left to take?

–Oh, that's a difficult one. Maybe a special moment in the street, a moment in a person's life. I'm a hunter with a foreigner's eyes and I like to have people in my photos, capturing a moment that, without my camera, would have disappeared.

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