Rafael Heygster

“I died 22 times”

Project Description

My home country, Germany, has officially been at peace for more than 70 years. The photographic work “I died 22 times” shows and questions the way our culture deals with “warfare” outside real battlefields. War does not only manifest itself as a military conflict on battlefields with clear physical fronts, but appears more abstractly in our society in various places.

“I died 22 times” deals with the question “Where does war begin?”

The series combines motifs from different scenarios. Images of weapons fairs (war as a business) are combined with motives of Airsoft, a dubious leisure activity (war as a game), people who play video war games and military marches (war as a demonstration of national strength). All scenarios shown have one thing in common: “War” is staged as something entertaining and at the same time harmless. Nobody dies. War is thereby made consumable.


Nationality: German

Rafael Heygster (1990) is a freelance photographer based in Hannover and Bremen, Germany.

From 2010 to 2015 he stu­died cultural anthropology and political science at the Uni­ver­sity of Hamburg. Since 2015, he has been studying photojournalism and documentary photography at the Uni­ver­sity of App­lied Sci­en­ces and Arts Hannover. In 2017, he interned as a photographer at Weser Kurier, the newspaper of his hometown, Bremen, and worked as an assistant for lêmrich (Kiên Hoang Lê and Alina Emrich) in Frankfurt.

In his work, he focu­ses on the relationship between individuals and their social, cultural and ecological environment.

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Posted by Thaddeus Pope

Thaddeus Pope is the Director of Visual Communications for The International Academic Forum (IAFOR) and the Creative Director of the IAFOR Documentary Photography Award.