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Before I left the States, I was talking with Tiffany Brown about my plans.

“You’ll have one hell of a sports portfolio this year for POYi,” she said.

“Yeah, but I need something underwater to battle Miralle (industry joke),” I replied.

“Well,” said Brown in her special way, “get on it.”

So I did some research online about water sports in Germany. And there it was:



This group from a gay athletic club practices every Wednesday evening for an hour in Frankfurt. I sent off several emails to Emmanuel, the contact listed on the club’s web site. Never heard back, but I wasn’t concerned. Things usually work out.

When I got to Munich, I called him and Peter left a message auf Deutsch for Emmanuel. Never heard back from him but we did get a hold of his director. Shouldn’t be a problem to take photos, he said. Just ask when I arrive.

Long story shorter is that when I arrived in Frankfurt – straight off the train from Holland – I bumped into Emmanuel at the swimming center. He seemed surprised to see me.

There were only 5 swimmers that night. They huddled seriously, discussing for some time whether to let me photograph them. Guess they were mocked by a Germany TV crew and were worried I was back for more. I could give two shits that the guys were gay, but they were also concerned I would mock their sexuality.

I explained my program, that I found their sport interesting and that I thought it’d make for some nice photos. I showed my portfolio to them on my new iPhone (I’m a geek), but Emmanuel was a rotten apple in the group.

“Why didn’t you contact us before tonight?” asked a nice guy with the best English after listening to a rant from Emmanuel. “That way we could discuss it and find out more about you.”

“I did. Several times. But Emmanuel, here, he never returned my messages.”

Apparently, Emmanuel couldn’t be bothered to respond to me, even though he didn’t want me to be there. Could have saved me a lot of time and effort. I even passed on a date with a cute woman from Hamburg that I met at Peter’s wedding to be there.

For the record, Boyd said I should go on the date; Melissa voted for the photo op.

“Sol, it’s Men’s Synchronized Swimming!!” she messaged me.

Melissa, I still can’t believe Boyd was right.

Anyway, two of the five let me shoot them, but it was pointless. I left early to catch a better train north to Kiel, after chewing out Emanuel for wasting my time.

I did get something out of all this (no, never hooked up with Claudia). But the Germans did tell me about a group of co-ed synchronized swimmers in SF.

And that’s where the good karma paid off.

Their coach, Suzanne, was/is super cool, immediately responding to emails. Told me about their practice schedule, exhibitions and competitions. Even emailed me late this past Saturday to tell me of a timing change for Sunday’s practice at UC-Berkeley.

I was there for 3 hours. And had a blast. The group invited me for burgers and beers afterwards. They enjoyed the photos I downloaded onto my MacBook. And I enjoyed their company and good vibes.

I’m glad I got blown off by those Frankfurters.

By the way, I was right. Things usually work out.

Now about Claudia…

  • Karen Ducey - September 26, 2007 - 11:17 pm

    Tiffany’s right Sol – You’ve got one hell of an amazing body of work here. Its awesome! Incredible pictures. You should syndicate this. What a fantastic journey you are on.

    Karen Ducey


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