25 years as the Viking Ship Museum's photographer
Werner Karrasch was born in Germany in 1950 and began his museum career as an excavation technician at Gottorf Castle in Schleswig. he and the Viking Ship Museum initiated their collaboration in 1977, during the excavation of a harbour from the large Viking Age marketplace, Hedeby. He was subseqently invited to Roskilde several times.
Fascinated by the Museum's dynamic and interdisciplinary approach, in love with young student from the School Service, and without speaking a word of Danish, Werner Karrasch moved to Denmark in 1991. Here he was employed as a technical illustrator at the Viking Ship Museum and produced drawings of finds and reconstructions, illustrations and reproductions for Museum publications and exhibitions.
In time, photographic documentation was added to his list of duties and as the process shifted from analogue to digital, his role changed. Today, Werner Karrasch is a fulltime photographer and filmmaker and his many thousand of photos and film clips are a fundamental part of the Museum's research and communication.
As a photographer, Werner Karrasch is standing on the shoulders of masters like French Henri Cartier-Bresson, known for i´his iconic and narrative 'Street photography' and German August Sander's stringent and very direct style from the 1920s and 1930s. Inspiration is also found in the American-journalistic style of National Geographic, and in 2007, his images of the Sea Stallion from Glendalough graced both the cover and a 17-page article in the Scandinavian version of the magazine.
In Werner Karraschs view, a great image must entertain, challenge and catch the dynamics unfolding around the subject. Composition and use of natural ligh are therefore paramount for his technique.
Cinematically, he is drawn by the opportunity to build a vusal story which, in the course of just a few minutes, gives ten thousands of followers, on Facebook for example, an insight into the intricate craftsmanship involved in building af Viking ship.
After 25 years working in the same place, there is still room to dream. And Werner Karrasch dreams of yet again following a great trial voyage out on sea, like in 2007-2008, when he documented Sea Stallion's voyage to Dublin and back again.
He cannot imagine putting down his camera, and already has his head filled with ideas, to be realised: small and peculiar maritime environments that deserve documentation - and which Werner Karrasch can photograph in his own unique way.