I believe in Werner Herzog

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Theo Constantinou of Paradigm magazine has created this explanation for us into why he believes in Werner Herzog.


Belief that

reality is illusion

masked behind dreams.  


This haiku was to stand alone as the words to accompany the ‘I Believe in Werner Herzog’ photograph series; brief, mysterious and very Herzogian.  After sending the haiku and photos to Maxime he asked that I write an essay for the photographs instead.


This is why, ‘I Believe in Werner Herzog’ …


When Paradigm Magazine started in October 2011, I knew that the conversations, photographs and essays that were being compiled on our website would eventually need to live within the tangible realm of a book or magazine. My close friend c — v a and I started discussing our interest in print, the importance of books in a culture dominated by the hyper-active dissemination of information, and ultimately how we could create a legacy for Paradigm by producing a physical version of the magazine.  In C.G. Jung and Hermann Hesse: A Book of Two Friendships, Miguel Serrano writes, “As with men, it has always seemed to me that books have their own peculiar destinies.  They go towards the people who are waiting for them and reach them at the right moment.  They are made of living material and continue to cast light through the darkness long after the death of their authors.” This was the case with Werner Herzog’s book Conquest of the Useless: Reflections from the Making of Fitzcarraldo, a book of Werner’s journal entries from the time period during which he made one of his most iconic films.  After reading this book I came to learn that a documentary was made by filmmaker Les Blank called Burden of Dreams about the making of Herzog’s film, Fitzcarraldo. During one of my weekly meetings with c — v a we decided to watch Blank’s film.  The impact on us was profound.


Herzog’s tenacity and resilience gave me hope that I too could manifest my dreams in reality no matter how insurmountable the obstacles were that lay in front of me, this was the moment that led me to believe in Werner Herzog.  He wrote in his journals when the entire production of Fitzcarraldo was falling apart, “But the question that everyone wanted answered was whether I would have the nerve and the strength to start the whole process from scratch.  I said yes; otherwise I would be someone who had no dream left, and without dreams I would not want to live.”  With no official funding for the printing of Paradigm Magazine or knowledge on how to truly create a magazine on the scale of what lies inside my mind, I found strength in Herzog.  His character as a human inspired me so deeply that I wanted to share this belief with others.


Towards the end of the film Burden of Dreams, Herzog says his most powerful statement,


“It’s not only my dreams, my belief is that all these dreams are yours as well.  And the only distinction between me and you is that I can articulate them.  And that is what poetry or painting or literature or filmmaking is all about … And it is my duty because this might be the inner chronicle of what we are.  We have to articulate ourselves, otherwise we would be cows in the field.”


These words have come to embody my personal philosophy that all humans are dreamers and that somewhere inside us all we share the same dreams; these photographs act as hope that people have the courage to articulate their inner chronicles through whichever medium is necessary for them to share their dreams. As a human race we rely on each other for basic survival, inspiration, love, and motivation.  The farmer in Idaho harvesting potatoes that feed populations, the social worker in the inner-city rehabilitating those who are on the fringes of society, the scientist in a windowless laboratory tirelessly searching for a cure that will change the modern world and the artist locked in his/her studio painting into the early hours of the morning confronting their demons in the hope that their work of art will resonate with the viewer and impact someone’s life besides their own. It is our duty to chronicle who we are, to realize our dreams and articulate them without compromise. This message is for those who feel as though they have become just another spoke in the ever turning wheel.  Do not lose hope because I believe that I share the same dreams as you.

All photos and text by Theo Constantinou, for more information about Burden of Dreams look here

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9 comments on “I believe in Werner Herzog

  1. wes says:

    Stop tagging this around philly. It fucking sucks

  2. jz says:

    Philly hates you and your stupid fucking “art”

  3. I was just bragging to Herzog fans/friends in New York about the pieces I’ve seen around Philly and I suppose it made me more curious about the artist. Very pleased to find this article with a quick google search.. I’ve been so thoroughly charmed and reassured ever since I first saw the message in Center City where I sometimes get lost in the drudgery of my day job there. Thanks to the artist and to Mr. Constantinou for the piece, a good, uplifting read.

  4. Bob says:

    Carlos you piece of shit. This person is painting on peoples homes and businesses. Did you ever thing that this vandalism is CREATING the drudgery of someones day? Trying to figure out how to clean spray paint off a new brick facade that costs 2 months salary of savings? It’s sincerely a shame that you think this would uplifting. It’s really unfair that this person can destroy peoples property with no repercussions. I wish you would walk into traffic.

  5. matt says:

    ^+1 on walking into traffic.
    This guy needs to figure out that he’s a serious dbag and this is as artistic as the steaming coil my dog left on the sidewalk today.

  6. mary o says:

    My 10 year old daughter was fascinated, as was her school chums. I explained about Herzog’s documentaries. (The happier ones). I studied his work in grad school. She was interested and had a lot of questions. She then became the school expert, since one tagging was pretty close to the school and the older kids would stand around while she explained about who he was and his films. She mimicked his German accent (well, mimicking my version of his German accent) and his dry sense of humor. He may have a new set of inner city fans growing up. It sparked a ton of interest Thanks and good luck!

  7. UpsetNeighbor says:

    Mary O,
    Are you seriously thanking someone for defacing someone’s home? This specific graffiti is everywhere now and is on homes and businesses. I’m sure Herzog would be thrilled that some asshole painted his name all over someone’s home. The fact that it brings your daughter joy is sickening and a testament to you as a shitty parent and person. Good luck!

  8. evan says:

    Is this what people are getting upset about on the internet these days? Maybe if more people watched Herzog’s films they would realize that there are more important things in life than your shitty brick facade.