Born in Munich, Germany, Sebastian Beck earns his living as an editor and reporter for the acclaimed Süddeutsche Zeitung, Munich’s largest and best-known newspaper that enjoys nationwide distribution and an international reputation. Here, he shares a series of images taken with the Leica Q in the town of Altoetting, Bavaria, documenting one of the oldest pilgrimage chapels.
I took these photos between November 2015 and August 2016 in the pilgrimage town Altoetting, Bavaria. I exclusively used the Leica Q for it, because it works in low light, has an almost perfect color balance and is totally silent. This is a precondition for working in a place like that. The sound of a shutter would attract the attention of the people und destroy the scenery.
Altoetting is the spiritual heart of catholic Bavaria. The small chapel in the center of the town was erected around the year 700 – so it is 1300 years old and one of the oldest buildings in Bavaria. The chapel also houses silver urns immortalizing the hearts of Bavarian kings and prince-electors. Altötting is only 70 kilometers in the east of Munich, but it seems to be on another planet. I was always dreaming of documenting buddhist spirituality in Bhutan. By instance I made a stop in Altötting in August 2015 – the first time after many many years. I was absolutely fascinated by the scenery, but unfortunately cameras are not allowed in the sanctuary, so I took some pictures secretly…For weeks later I got me a permission by the diocese and started a long term photo project. For me it was like rediscovering the the myths of my childhood. I found out, that you don’t need to travel to Bhutan to document spirituality. Sometimes you just have to make a step backwards and look at your home with the eyes of a stranger.