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Ambassadors Programme

Explorer

Christian Anderl

Oct14

One year after my death: how your photography can save a life

By Christian Anderl, Tuesday October 14, 2014
TV Presenter Nicola Löwenstein.

TV Presenter Nicola Löwenstein. © Christian Anderl

I know, the title of this post is theatrical. But honestly, that's exactly how I felt when photography saved my life. And also when my photography saved another life. And now, I would love to see your photography save lives too. But let's start at the beginning...

The first time I read the word "Movember" was in 2011. First of all, a lot of portraits of people with moustaches caught my eye. Then I looked a little deeper and found out it was about men growing moustaches once a year to raise awareness for men's health. "Movember" is a combination of the words Moustache and November. Men grow moustaches and when someone asks them why (and trust me, a lot of people will!) they answer: "because it's Movember and I want to raise awareness for men's health."

One year later, in September 2012, I found a little lump. The one and only thing that came to my mind at that moment was the story from 2011. A guy who said: "I don't know if I would have gone to see a doctor without that Movember and men's health thing in my mind." Now I was the one who was thinking "Remember that Movember thing?" The doctor I met the day after said in one sentence something I won't forget for the rest of my life: "If you weren't here now and we didn't react as quickly as we did, you would have one year left to live. At most."

When I left the hospital, me and my girlfriend Sarah decided to shoot a series of portraits of Austrian celebrities wearing moustaches and make a calendar of "Movember Portraits". Austria didn't know anything about Movember two years ago. But in 2012 every radio, TV and printed media showed our portraits and told our story. Only a few weeks after starting to shoot these portraits, I received an email from a 25-year-old guy who said that he'd just found out he had testicular cancer and the only reason he went to the hospital, was because he saw these Movember portraits and read the story about Movember.

Trust me, if you ever receive a email like this one, your eyes get wet and goosebumps appear where you never thought they would. You never forget that moment. Someone just told me that he might not be here anymore, if I hadn't have done what I did.

The reason why I'm telling you this, is that I decided to tell my story every year to as many people as possible. Because of the fact that I am still here and able to tell you my story is the best evidence ever that the idea of Movember works. I hope that you also will find your way to raise awareness with your photography. Not just for Movember, but for whatever you think is worth the effort.

The cover of the Movember Portraits Calendar for 2014.

The cover of the Movember Portraits Calendar for 2014. © Christian Anderl

Rock band 'Excuse Me Moses' (www.excusememoses.com).

Rock band 'Excuse Me Moses' (www.excusememoses.com). © Christian Anderl