Christina Heurig

images · art direction · set design

Portrait comission: The pianist (Anna Köbrich)

Grace, sensibility, vulnerability and elegance: The soul of a pianist

Portrait commission, Berlin, August 2015.

She hired me to create elegant artist portraits for her piano recitals, but I also got a glimpse on a strong woman who thrives on dreams, passion, beauty and the ability to recreate long-forgotten worlds with her music.

Series in full article.

It was a true pleasure to work with an artistically educated, passionate woman like Anna.

We discussed our ideas forehand and I had a few chances to hear her play and interpret various music pieces. She plays like heaven and constantly brings modern, fresh and vibrant moments into her interpretations. She is a talent that gave me goose bumps on the road!

Mainly we chose the location based on the old wodden piano in the great hall: an old sanatorium on the outskirts of Berlin. Sanatorium Grabowsee is a sacred place – a big, half preserved building keeping secrets, stories and history well tucked together.

If it wasn’t for the really beautiful wood piano and the great hall, which was still  very well preserved and did not look too worn out, I’d might have chosen a different location. Old, left-alone buildings often tend to come off as a very cheap portrait location, as they just bribe viewers with their ‘unusal’ look as a sensational adventure house. (Put a pretty face in it and ta-ta, you’re an artist?)… Personally, I’ve seen too many photographs like that.

But for Anna and me it was perfect. It did not have the cheap “worn out” atmosphere and as we carefully chose the rooms that still looked mostly intact. She looked like a princess in her castle, ruling the lands with her sweet elegance.

She’s truly a very elegant woman in every way. With her past as a ballet dancer, we decided to capture some parts of that was well. It all came together naturally under the green and gold summer heat.

Birds sang, only inside the warmth was bearable and soon we got lost in the long hallways of the house. We found a stone circle tucked away in some of the forsaken rooms, as a lot of artists walked in and out unnoticed.


Trust between model and photographer is what makes the images great – and true to the soul.

It was a very relaxed and focussed atmosphere between us, constantly working out new ideas and scenes we’d like to shoot. We both had a lot of tiny stories to weave into images.

I am truly grateful that she trusted me with my skills: she is also a very strong and bright-minded woman who likes to have everything under her control. I do not mind that, as I am the same – so I know on the other hand, that it is a gift of respect and trust… if you can let go (a bit).

I love the fragile necklace she brought: featuring a line from Chopin’s music on it. Often it’s the details that make portraits thrive: I am very happy we created not only images with the obligatory (and beautiful!) piano for magazines / festival purposes, but managed to catch also more subtle, sensitive images. Those serve her fragility and serene, fairytale-like appearance well.

Thank you, Anna!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *