Wed, May 28, 2008 - Page 15 News List

The magic of the moment

Dirk Diestel finds the best photographs are a matter of being willing to wait to be in the right place at the right time

By Diane Baker  /  STAFF REPORTER

But it was a more recent experience that left a mark on Diestel, and provided the impetus for Children of Asia.

In the sky over Ueberlingen on July 1, 2002, a Bashkirian Airlines charter flight packed with Russian children headed for a Spanish holiday collided with a DHL International cargo jet, killing all 71 people aboard the two planes.

“I had just gotten home from a long day, went upstairs to see my sons. I had picked up one son and was holding him when I saw a big explosion in the sky through the window. I handed my son to my wife, ran downstairs, grabbed my camera and went out. I was the only photographer there [initially]. It was worst thing I had ever seen, children on the ground naked. I couldn’t take their photos, only the fire trucks, the parts of the airplanes,” he said. “My twins were six weeks old at the time. Maybe this is why I like to take pictures of children now.”

Getting a great shot is as much about luck as it is timing, Diestel said, with a large dose of patience thrown in.

His wife must also have patience, to go on vacation with a working photographer, especially with two young boys in tow.

Diestel laughingly admitted that being married to a photographer has been hard on his wife. That’s why on one trip to Vietnam he rented a motorbike to go into the mountains on his own, leaving the family behind to enjoy the beach.

“To be at the right place, at the right moment, sometimes it is just five seconds, sometimes I wait half an hour,” he said.

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