the series MACHT is a collaborative work of patrik budenz and birte zellentin.
please visit the MACHT website for more pictures and details about this work.

who exercises power? how can one person shape the politics of an entire nation? and what do its rulers reveal about a country?

for many germans, the parliamentary elections of september 2021 marked a new era. after sixteen years, chancellor angela merkel’s term in office had ended. the peaceful transition of power was taken for granted. however, the narrative of how power is wielded and transferred differs for each country and throughout history. based on these observations, we began to artistically explore the influence of individual politicians on the history of their countries.

the project macht visualizes one hundred years of global politics through the lens of its protagonists. for all states, portraits of those in power between 1921 and 2021 were selected and then superimposed. the intensity and thus the visibility of each person varies according to the length of their term in office. the result is a series of 199 images that are both irritating and iridescent and serve to reinterpret the classical portrait of a ruler.


post mortem

post mortem

in modern societies death has become very visible and invisble at the same time. we are used to watch images of death in movies and the daily news about war, accidents and natural desaster. but on the other side the daily natural death has been completely vanished from the public view. it almost has become a taboo that people do not talk and know about.

today more people die in hospitals than in their own home – like it was a century ago, where it was the relatives task to take care of the dead body. but nowadays professionals are called who remove the body from visibilty.

but before finally vanishing, the deceased person’s corpse is administered, scrutinized, investigated, processed by various institutions and thus once again confronted with its former life. like a dying pendulum, the corpse oscillates between life (e.g. by being dressed in the deceased’s personal clothes) and complete decomposition (e.g. the body’s temporary destruction during autopsy).

„post mortem“ traces this resonation and accompanies the dead body on its last journey from cold rooms, storages, pathology, taxidermy, scientific collections, morticians, crematories and cemeteries.


search for evidence

search for evidence

almost every evening we can watch so-called forensic investigators and forensic pathologists doing their job: in tv series like csi, crossing jordan or quincy we can see them investigating crime cases.

as a result of being exposed to these medial representations, many people have a specific image of typical criminal investigators and their work: very often they are shown as strange characters working alone in dim-lit rooms, using fancy high-tech gadgets that help to determine the cause of death within minutes.

however, if one searches for the reality behind these fictional stereotypes, one soon realizes that tv creates myths and false knowledge completely different from the reality of forensic investigation




when forensic investigators first come to possible crime scene, they usually do not yet know what happened – not even, if there really has been a crime. only traces hint to what might have taken place here and what not. sometimes these clues are rather obvious, sometimes only looking very closely will indicate possible past events … and sometimes, what seems to be a trace is no trace at all.




the spiritual heart of thailand is buddhism.
monks are the embodiment of buddhism.
the ultimate goal of the buddhist path is enlightenment.
one key to enlightenment is meditation.


fifteen minutes

fifteen minutes

muay thai is both a thai national sport and cultural good. usually, the combatants are either depicted as heroic warriors during the fight itself or as winners and losers in news covering the fight. in both cases, fighters are shown as strong, brave and in complete control.

however, immediately after the fight, this control crumbles. for a brief moment, one glimpses the person behind the facade of the fierce warrior and with it the full strength of emotions connected with the fifteen minutes of fighting – exertion, pain, exhaustion, vulnerability, despair, determination, triumph and defeat.


muay thai

muay thai

what football is in the u.s. and soccer is in europe, muay thai (thai boxing) is in thailand. similar to football and soccer, there are millions of fans, and the big fights are transmitted via national tv every day.

many boys start training early in their life, dreaming of once becoming a huge star. while there are many small local training camps and boxing stadions, the big show is in lumpinee stadium and rajadamnern stadium in bangkok. whoever is allowed to box here, has made it. „muay thai champion of lumpinee“ is one of the most prestigious titles in the world of martial arts. so every night, hundreds of enthusiastic fans come to watch the the show.

for the fighters, boxing here is not just an honour and a huge chance – they also know that they do not have much time: successful muay thai boxers are rarely older than 30.




the term deep sea creature refers to organisms that live thousands of meters below the surface in the lowest layers of the ocean. these often alien-looking creatures survive far below the photic zone in very demanding environments, such as the abyssal or hadal zones, that are almost completely devoid of light. here, the water is ice cold, the level of oxygen is very low and the pressure on the body is enourmous. but those creatures living here have adapted to these conditions and the lack of light with strange body shapes and by developing bioluminescence, the ability of an organism to create its own light through chemical reactions. bioluminescence is used for several reasons: to light the way, scare off enemies, attract prey or seduce a mate.


post mortem

post mortem

peperoni books, berlin
64 pages | 25 color & 4 black & white-photos
23 x 24,5 cm | hardcover
english | isbn 978-3-941825-27-7


quæstiones medico-legales

quæstiones medico-legales

with an essay by prof. dr. michael tsokos
discussion with patrik budenz, prof dr. hubert knoblauch and pd dr. matthias christen
peperoni books, berlin
160 pages | 87 photos in tritone
17 x 24 cm | hardcover
german | isbn 978-3-941825-21-5


because of the tragic death of my friend and publisher hannes wanderer in 2018, also his highly regarded publishing company peperoni books does not exist anymore. therefore it is not possible anymore to order my books in any book stores .  

but i still have some copies left. so, if you are interested in buying one of the following books, please contact me.

post mortem

post mortem

a person’s death ends her existence. still, the body remains.

until the 19th century, death was so prevalent in everyday life that it couldn’t be denied: people nearly always died at home. it was the relatives‘ task to wash the body and cover it.

in the course of industrialization and the development of modern medicine, mortality rates dropped drastically. more and more, elderly people moved to hospitals and nursing homes, long before they died. the thought of death itself increasingly became unbearable for most people. today, death has mostly vanished from public perception. most people die in institutions, and in case someone actually still dies at home, the corpse is immediately taken away by morticians in order to prepare the burial.

but what happens with a corpse between the moment it is given into the care of professionals and the burial?

post mortem
peperoni books, berlin

64 pages | 25 color & 4 black & white-photos
23 x 24,5 cm | hardcover
english | isbn 978-3-941825-27-7

quæstiones medico-legales

quæstiones medico-legales

hinter den kulissen der rechtsmedizin

every evening tv-shows like csi, crossing jordan or quincy show legal medical experts at work and the field of forensics also have long since entered the german crime series. but the medical image of forensic medicine has only little in common with reality. in fact, only few people have realistic ideas of how things work in the autopsy hall or the forensic laboratories and what else belongs to the legal medical’s everyday life.
the photographer patrik budenz wanted to find out more. on the basis of the medial image, he accompanied the forensic medicals during their work at the site of crime, in the section room, in the laboratory and at their desk. as a photographer he proceeded as carefully as the medicals themselves. he exactly observed what happened and translated it into pictures, which precisely document the medical’s daily routine.

patrik budenz has deliberately renounced drastic effects. the work on the series nevertheless became a boundary experience for him, because a lot of what legal medicals are confronted with in their daily life lies far beyond most people’s imagination.

the head of the institute for legal medicine at berlin’s charité hospital, prof. dr. michael tsokos, introduces the topic with an essay. a detailed discussion, which the photographer led with the sociologist prof. dr. hubert knoblauch and the expert for post mortem photography pd dr. matthias christen, emphasizes the dealing with images of dead people and dissected corpses.

quæstiones medico-legales
with an essay by prof. dr. michael tsokos
discussion with patrik budenz, prof dr. hubert knoblauch and pd dr. matthias christen
peperoni books, berlin
160 pages | 87 photos in tritone
17 x 24 cm | hardcover
german | isbn 978-3-941825-21-5
euro 25



28 june 2024 – 30 june 2024

annette rausch, birte zellentin, patrik budenz, filip caranica, betty böhm, ralf rose, bretz/holliger
48 stunden neukölln – urbane stille 2.0

aussegnungshalle, friedhof lilienthalstraße
10965 berlin-kreuzberg, germany
entrance at lilienthalstraße 11


30 may 2024 – 08 september 2024

patrik budenz & birte zellentin
photography never lies – MACHT

bangkok art and cultural center
main exhibition gallery, 7th floor
939 rama I rd, wang mai, pathum wan
bangkok 10330, thailand

opening reception: may 30th, 2024


et nos morts? post-mortem photography in europe today | maison de la photographie robert doisneau | gentilly/france
macht | patrik budenz & birte zellentin | indian photo festival | state art gallery | hyerabad/india
macht | patrik budenz & birte zellentin | rotlicht festival | vienna/austria


post mortem | atelier für photographie | berlin


fifteen minutes / samaathi | suvannabhumi art gallery | chiang mai/thailand


1000 wirklichkeiten – 100 jahre deutsche fotografische akademie | haus der photographie | hamburg
hieb & stich – dem verbrechen auf der spur | wilhelm-fabry-museum | hilden


samadhi | bangkok photo festival – galerie oasis | bangkok/thailand


nang samaathi | raumsechs | düsseldorf
hieb & stich – dem verbrechen auf der spur | museum of medical history | berlin


fifteen minutes | bookhemian 2521 art space | phuket/thailand


post mortem & hinter den kulissen der rechtsmedizin | museum für sepulkralkultur | kassel
fifteen minutes | kathmandu gallery | bangkok/thailand


made in berlin – exhibition on photobooks | exposure twelve | berlin
fifteen minutes | raumsechs | düsseldorf
perspektiven vol. 1 | neue schule für fotografie | berlin


eyes wide open | proust wörter & töne | essen
post mortem | peperoni books showroom | berlin


in transit – the view of the other, 5th european month of photography | berlin
vom tatort ins labor – rechtsmediziner decken auf | wilhelm-fabry-museum | hilden
vom tatort ins labor – rechtsmediziner decken auf | museum of medical history | hamburg


vom tatort ins labor – hinter den kulissen der rechtsmedizin | proust wörter & töne | essen
vom tatort ins labor – rechtsmediziner decken auf | deutsches medizinhistorisches museum | ingolstadt


fotosommer stuttgart 2010 | award show | stuttgart
new visionaries 2009 | new york photo festival 2010 | usa
dunkelfeld | galerie altes rathaus | leinfelden-musberg


vom tatort ins labor – rechtsmediziner decken auf | science pyramide, galileo park | lennestadt/meggen
post mortem | otto berg bestattungen | berlin
open09 | neue schule für fotografie |  berlin
die erfindung des realen | galerie ruhnke | potsdam
vom tatort ins labor – rechtsmediziner decken auf | museum of medical history | berlin


patrik budenz: imágenes poderosas de nuestro último viaje después de la muerte | (spanish) | january 12, 2017

powerful photos of the body after death | (english) | january 11, 2017

patrik budenz – au coeuer de la morgue | résonance funéraire (french) | january, 2016

fotografien über den tod – „ich wollte eine grenze überschreiten“ | (german) | july 11, 2015

post mortem: sonderausstellung im sepulkralmuseum in kassel | youtube (german) | june 11, 2015

meet the photographer who spent four years in a forensic morgue | aol (english) | october 21, 2013

los cadáveres de berlín | (spanish) | october 11, 2013

when dead bodies are your job, death becomes a way of life | (english) | september 23, 2013

ez történik velünk a halál után | (hungarian) | september 16, 2013

post mortem | gup magazine (english) | september 13, 2013

this week in photography books – patrik budenz | a photo editor (english) | august 2, 2013

patrik budenz / la mort vous va si bien | (french) | june 6, 2013

patrik budenz, le photographe qui documente la mort | (french) | may 24, 2013

entre la vie et la morgue | (french) | may 10, 2013

ausflug in den sektionssaal | der standard (german) | june 16, 2011

„manchmal kann ich die leiche noch riechen“ | focus online (german) | may 30, 2011

the beauty of death | castor und pollux (german) | october 10, 2009

spurensuche – patrik budenz fotografierte berliner rechtsmedizinische institute | photonews (german) | april 2009

„vom tatort ins labor“: ausstellung zur rechtsmedizin in berlin | spiegel online video (german) | march 06, 2009


patrik budenz

born in 1971, first studied information systems in bamberg/germany and is working as a software developer. from 2007-2009 he studied photography at the neue schule für fotografie in berlin and since then he is also working as a freelance photographer.

he lives in berlin/germany and works everywhere.


winner the new york photo award 2009 | post mortem
finalist at kassel fotobuchfestival 2009 | post morten
finalist at stuttgart photo summer 2010 | post mortem
winner at rotlicht festival wien 2023 | macht (collaboration with birte zellentin)
winner at indian photo festival 2023 | macht (collaboration with birte zellentin)


deutsche fotografische akademie since 2011
vg bild


quaestiones medico-legales – hinter den kulissen der rechtsmedizin | 2011
post mortem | 2013/2015


süddeutsche zeitung, the guardian, spiegel online, frankfurter allgemeine sonntagszeitung, zeit wissen, stern crime,, planetopia/sat1, feature shoot, intro, yvi magazine, nitro and others




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