Rudolstadt is a microcosm of the larger world. As an outsider I think of it as a romantic place that is somehow lost in the time of fairy tales, kings, queens and magical forests with trees that look like monsters. The town is built along the River Saale inside a wide valley surrounded by woods. The entire project is a documented in a series of medium format photographs and text that document one mans story of royalty and poverty.
I first visited Rudolstadt in September of 2012 to visit a friend and see a firework show at the Castle Heidecksburg which is enthroned on a hill above the old town. My friend had grown up in Rudolstadt, a small rural town in west Germany. We stood at the top of the castle that evening and looked out upon the city below as it was lit up by spectacular fireworks. From these first moments I could feel that there was something special about this place.
The next week I visited again and my friend and I had a picnic near the castle. As we walked up the hill we encountered a strange character, an old man dressed as if he were from another generation. He had high heels, a white wig, colorful twentieth century clothing and a cane. My friend explained that this man was the last remaining ancestor of a royal bloodline in Rudolstadt. The next day as we walked around town we passed by his home and my friend translated some of the hand written posters that hung from his windows – they were political messages and pleads for help to save his home. Apparently the government was trying to kick him out of his family home.
Ever since this initial trip to Rudolstadt I have been intrigued by this mans life and I wrote him a letter. Over the following years I began to meet with him to discuss his life and document his story in photographs taken in his home.