Jörg Meier, Muhmamed Malik, Tom Smith and Lucas Martin. You don’t become a chancellor or an explorer or a star with that name, I quickly realised this in life. Since my birth I have carried a ‘stigma’ with this name. Later my name seemed a burden, then I saw it with indifference and now with interest.
My name is not just what I am called, but who I am. My obvious question is who are all the others? At my family doctor’s, Jörg Meier, is seven years older than me. My tax office accuses me of being married to some Melanie and keeps me on my toes with confusing family questions.
If you ‘google’ your name, you find yourself – more or less. I find many other people with the same name. Every week, Google Alerts tells me where Jörg Meier was elected mayor, where he has giving a concert, or where he has successfully coached a soccer team. These people interest me. I remember a funny experience I had as a teenager. I met a Jörg Meier in a discotheque and the situastion created a strange connection between me and him. All is lost but you search for common ground and talk in a deeper, more open level as if you meet a stranger called Thomas Müller.
I was thinking about what I could make of it photographically, and I had this horrible vision of 40 old white men staring at me from a wall. I tried to think about it differently and found some answers for myself.
I phoned 161 Jörg Meier on Sundays at Christian time between 10:30 a.m. and 12 p.m. in order to tone down the cold calling. Him – in anticipation of the upcoming lunch, which I was sure Mrs. Meier would cook. And in that, I wasn’t so wrong.
The Jörg Meiers are from an era in name. He is between 45 and 65 years old. But I also found a bit of diversity. And now they are waiting: 35 Jörg Meiers between Sylt and Aargau, between The Hague and the Czech border. They have all agreed to be portrayed by me. There is a lot to compare and a lot to distinguish.
I have access to 35 people with 35 stories. 35 possibilities and approaches.