The “Girl Next Door” Project.

Everything what you will find on this website, started with this project. In 2017 I had the first photoshoot for the project with my lovely Olivia. And this was the beginning of an amazing journey for me. From a small idea that I formed in my head it developed to something I want to spend 100% of my time for photography with.

But slowly. Lets start how everything began: So back then I had this idea in my mind to take photos of people where they can see themselves in. Photos that mirror their true character and beauty. And seriously I didn´t believe that I was able to capture something like that. It did not only sound like a big challenge, it is one. And today still is!

But so I noted down my idea and started to organize photoshoots for it. Over the past 1,5 years you can see a significant development within my photo series I produced. Where at the beginning it was a huge experiment for me, with every photoshoot I became more confident about my idea, was able to better describe what I wanted to do, and actually started to take the photos I wanted to take.

Girl: Kaltrina

I want to capture uncommitted and pure moments, that are not faked or constructed. In order to achieve this, a lot of time is needed. I spend a whole day (or more) with the people I photograph for the project. I need to really get to know the person I want to take those photos with. So by spending so much time together as friends, I can create an atmosphere intimate enough to talk about deep thoughts, dreams and visions and emotional stuff, which allows me to get the “models” comfortable in front of the camera. Not infrequently I talk up to 7 or 8 hours straight. And during that process of getting to know each other on a very deep level, from time to time I am clicking some photos capturing the moments we share together. Just on the fly. No modeling, no posing. Just reality.

“… At first I couldn´t stand the idea of showing myself so intimate to a camera. (…) But when we did the shooting I fully realized the idea (…). A beautiful thought (…). I felt very comfortable what the photos obviously show. I was amazed how many beautiful photos we got. (…). The photoshoot was a lot of fun and Erik is very talented.”

– Kaltrina
Girl: Olivia

The big challenge is, to make people comfortable with this situation. A stranger coming to their house spending a full day with them and actually photographing them in a very vulnerable condition. Because this implies showing them with all of their uncertainty, their flaws and imperfections. And not everybody is open enough to allow this or let themselves fall enough or feel free enough to really show me that side of them. So every photoshooting is again and again a new challenge.

“During the shooting, which was my first one that intimate, I was surprised by myself. I wasn´t insecure or ashamed as I´ve expected – I felt good about myself and my body and my most private space, my home. I´ve realized that I´m way more confident as I thought, that was a really empowering moment.”


But the longer I did those shootings, practicing my skills in making people fully trust me, forcing myself to get better and better and strive to inevitable connect with them, the easier those days got for me and the better or more on point the photos got. And today, 1,5 years after starting this project I have no words for how far I went with this whole thing. I had crazy deep conversations with amazing people, a couple of times even me or them lost tears to the universe and so much love and so much beauty lies within. I made a lot of new friends and found soulmates with this project. And it´s impossible to show all that emotions, all that feelings and love that happened in just a few photos. Therefore I am writing little stories about those days that will accompany the photo series. And you know what is the most amazing thing about this? I knew that the project always had the goal to make a book out of it. And now I know it will not only be a book with great photos and cool stories, but a book full of lovely memories and emotions.

Girl: Teresa

And because this project had such a great impact on my perspective on photography, on my thinking and the way I connect with people, that I decided to do this 100% of my time I have for photography. I don´t want to just let it be a project, but my way of photography. My personal style and genre I want to settle with. And this decision was the start for my #mindfulphotojourney here.

Girl: Janna


How can you participate in the project?

If you are interested in participating as a model in my project just write a mail to Please include some information about you: Who are you?, what are you doing?, why do you think you would fit into the project?, and also add some photos of you. Selfies or holiday shots are fine.

Do you need to have modeling experience?

No. There is no need to have any modeling experience. I will guide you through the photoshoot. During the shoot I won´t ask you to do specific posing or sth. like this. In most cases everything comes with the flow or I use little stories to get you in the right mood.If you are a professional model I am afraid to tell you that within this project I decline to work with professionals.

How will the images look like?

Every photoshoot will look different because of changing environments, mood and settings. But in general I will set up my images using soft and natural light in order to create a sensual atmosphere in my images. You can see some examples here in the Photo Gallery section.You can also find a moodboard here, which shows examples of my photographic vision for the project:

How will the photoshoot procedure be like?

Generally, every photoshoot will be different. It could take from 2-3 hours to a half or full day depending on mood and situation. The more time we spend the better will be the results. Before every photoshooting we will talk a lot to get to know each other and find out if there is enough sympathy to go on with photos. This pre-shooting talk will as well serve as the basis of writing my story. I will ask you a lot of (nasty) questions about you. But this should be more a discussion, not an interview. During the shooting we will as well talk a lot, make nonsense, order pizza, drink wine and do whatever we can do to have an amazing day.

Do you have to be partially or fully naked?

No! There is no need to be naked in front of the camera. I want to show you and your personality so whatever is convenient for you will be suitable for me. Nevertheless you should consider that my photos will be set in an intimate atmosphere. Showing skin is a common used stylistic element to reveal intimacy in photos.

How will you get the photos?

After the photoshooting we will select the photos together that will be used in the end. From beginning to end you are involved in the production and selection process. You have to be okay with the fact that I will make some photos book-exclusive, so these ones won´t be shown or posted anywhere but in the book. After two to three weeks you will get a download link with all retouched images you can use for social media and so on. Normally this will be 6-10 photos. Of course you can get all other photos as well for private use.

Will you get a compensation for being part of the project?

The project is based on free participation. I am doing it because I want to make art and experiences. So unfortunately I can´t offer payment. Your compensation for participating will be the retouched photos, day you won´t forget so fast and a signed print of your favorite photo.

What about the book and the exhibition?

I am planning to publish a book and make an exhibition out of this project. Since the project is still in production I am not able to tell an exact date when I will be able to publish a book or organize an exhibition.

How do you like my project and approach? I will be more than glad to discuss with you in the comments 🙂

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