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Always in focus: the photographer

Professional Photographer Expertly Spotlights the „Sparifankerl-Pass“

Even without a costume he is an almost indispensable part of the Sparifankerl-Pass. Since 2003 Andreas Pirchmoser has travelled as a faithful companion to the Munich Krampus group. There is good reason why the man from Dachau doesn’t wear either a mask or a costume resembling a „Sparifankerl“ (Devil): The Bavarian captures the breathtaking spectacle of the Krampus Run with his camera.

“I was fascinated since the first event,“ reports Pirchmoser. „I think it is fantastic, that the group has brought the tradition of the Krampus Run to life again and even transported it to big cities like Munich, where this practice is not well-known. Besides that, cooperation with the group is a lot of fun. But it’s not just me. I once took an assistant to an event – the atmosphere immediately inspired him. He already said: ‘I’m running with them next year’.”

And what about the photographic aspect of the Krampus Runs? “I especially relish the spontaneity,” continued Pirchmoser. “Since we don’t stage the scenes, I am constantly on the lookout for the best motif. I have to be able to quickly scan the situation. Optically, the unique atmosphere gives us many possibilities. I often work with long exposures, because the blurred images are particularly mystical.”

And what highlights has he experienced during his time with Sparifankerl? “As much as the Kramperl and their audience dislike hearing it, as a photographer I am happy about adverse weather conditions,” said Pirchmoser. “When it rains, and especially when it snows – such as in Vordernberg in November 2004 – the fantastic atmosphere and the fascinating light shows everything to even more advantage. In general, I still have a lot of fun, because every Run is very different. I just let it happen and try to make the best of it.” As his full-time job Pirchmoser is Managing Director of Foto Sessner, a long-established company with three locations in Dachau. Among his biggest clients is the Bayerische Rundfunk television channel, for which Pirchmoser has worked for many years and, among other things, documented the Pope’s visit to Bavaria in autumn 2006. The photographer met Tom Bierbaumer, the founder of Sparifankerl-Pass, through the public station and so found his way to the Krampus group.

The resurrection of almost forgotten Bavarian rituals.
The group called “Sparifankerl-Pass” is successfully revitalising a historical tradition from the Alps region ...

Where can you see the Krampus and Perchten called the Sparifankerl Pass? Click more for the current list of events and performances at home and abroad ...