In the past years, I have developed a passion for foxes, that is no secret to people who know me. But I didn’t expect these animals to bring me something far better and much more rewarding than pictures.
I used to spend my evenings hanging out at the old military barracks where I have been working for the past three years, trying to take pictures of these curious little city dwellers surrounded by the brown brick walls of the old “Kaserne”. But one day, Reza joined me. He used to throw stones at the few foxes he found wandering around the area, where he has lived since he arrived in Germany in 2015. He would run after them along with other children with their arms wide open and yelling, scaring them away.
Now he still chases them, but his goal is completely different: he now has a mobile phone in his hand and observes their silent and graceful moves, their grimacing and their distant howling, picturing all of it through his lens. And not only Reza has changed. Narges doesn’t only draw Princess Elsa, Disney’s Snow Queen, anymore. She also likes to draw foxes and improves her technique every time she grabs a her colours. Stanko takes pictures for me while I am not there, every time he sees a little fox run away and hide among the buildings, and his friend Ercan even helped together with Medina save two young foxes from meeting a gruesome death last summer and his chest puffs out every time he tells the story.
These kids have changed their way of understanding nature and foxes, but they have also changed me. If you want to know more, have a look at some of the pictures we have taken together while “fox-watching”.
One of the dark stories of these years in the Barracks happened in July 2018. Ercan adn Medina, from Nord Macedonia, came running, overexcited, as they had spotted a fox through a window. That window belonged to an old office on the first floor of an abandoned warehouse and it was clear something was wrong as the fox was scratching everything and desperately jumping up and down. When I got inside there were two of them and they had been locked inside on purpose, without food or water. It was upsetting and tragic, it felt painful and appalling. They were thin and scared, suspicious, and it took a lot of time and patience to free them. But once we did, the young kids felt like heroes for saving the foxes from a grim death. Unfortunately, few days later both kids were deported with their families.