Christian Ude, The Funny Mayor

All too often photo journalists see a seemingly endless number of “Talking Heads” during their daily work. Boring people, seeking the publicity generated by the media for often even more boring topics. I guess I am no exception here.

But at least I am living and working (mostly) in Munich, and that gives me one advantage: Christian Ude, Munich’s Lord Mayor. I have yet to have a photo shooting with him without some relaxed off-the-beaten-track photos on the memory card. He seems to be always relaxed, whether it is an (otherwise boring!) press conference on the topic of 200 Years Viktualienmarkt, an event celebrating 150 Years of Weisswurst, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, or the delivery of the first Hydrogen Car to Munich.

Even after 14 years of working as Lord Mayor of Munich, Ude appears to be always in a good mood. Which in turn makes him an attractive subject for me and my colleagues.

Yesterday, on May 1st, he was guest speaker on a union’s event in Munich. He was giving a powerful, emotional, gripping speech (which should be no surprise), listened to the applause, and then – the “Funny Ude” came out again. He took a tiny digital camera from his jacket and took a few souvenir photos! He did that before and given the fact that he was a writing journalist before entering his political career, I would bet that he isn’t taking just souvenir photographs.

Christian Ude speaking
Christian Ude gives a gripping speech
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Christian Ude listens to the applause
Christian Ude listens to the applause
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Christian Ude smiling
Christian Ude shares a laugh with the audience
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Christian Ude schaut auf die Uhr
What time is it?
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Christian Ude takes a souvenir photo
It’s time for a souvenir photo!
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

Christian Ude - off to work again
And then – back to work!
Mark Zanzig/zettpress

One has to be careful though, to not mix public appearance with quality of work. Certainly, Ude has his critics in the city, but the overwhelming success in the past elections at least make me think that the people believe he is doing a good job. There are rumours that he will not be available for the next election period. Which is sad. For the successor (it will be very difficult to achieve the same popularity as Ude) – and for the photo journalists.

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