Photographing Madiba

On the 22th of October 2003 my brother asked me to come to join him at Palais Palffy in Vienna’s 1st district and take some pictures of Nelson Mandela. I had no press accreditation and somehow managed to get inside by saying that my brother would be inside expecting me.

At that time i was 21 years old and it was just one year ago that I started to take pictures with digital cameras. I did not know much about ISO and photographic basics.

When I arrived at the first floor many professional press photographers and some TV camera teams were already waiting for Madiba to show up. They all knew their business well and were successfully defending their places in the first rows.

Like in some darwinesque narrative when Madiba arrived together with Austrian secretary of state Benita Ferrero-Waldner I was kind of lost there with my little Nikon 5700 compact camera, which was a decent beginners camera at that time with some 5 megapixel resolution. I tried my best to do fulfill the need of my brother, shooting from the back and between other photographers who all were using flash lights and big cameras.

Later, when I watched the results I must have been very disappointed: 9 out of 10 pictures were blurred. I think this is why I did not publish any of the pictures taken for more than ten years. Today I wonder how it was possible to get any proper results shooting on 100 ISO and no flash in an indoor situation.