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HomeUncategorizedSelbstdarstellung und Pflege des Erscheinungsbildes: Baerbock an der Küste, Scholz während des...

Selbstdarstellung und Pflege des Erscheinungsbildes: Baerbock an der Küste, Scholz während des Laufens: Wie eine Agentur an eitlen Politikern Geld verdient

Selbstdarstellung und Pflege des Erscheinungsbildes: Baerbock an der Küste, Scholz während des Laufens: Wie eine Agentur an eitlen Politikern Geld verdient




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Wenn es um die Inszenierung der eigenen Person geht, setzen Politiker auf die gleiche Fotoagentur. Und sie geben dafür immer mehr Geld aus. Spitzenreiterin bei den Ausgaben ist – mal wieder – Außenministerin Annalena Baerbock.

„Politiker wird nur, wer ohnehin etwas eitel ist“, sagte die Merkel-Fotografin Herlinde Koelbl Mitte August in einem Interview mit der „

NZZ “. The correctness of her statement is shown by a research from “Business Insider”. As per the research, the traffic light politicians and their ministries are spending hundreds of thousands of euros to enhance their image and present themselves in the right light. Seven out of the total 16 ministries as well as the Chancellery rely on one and the same photo agency.

The fortunate winner of the public tenders for the mostly two-year framework agreements is the agency “Photothek”. Those behind it, like managing director Thomas Imo or the “Habeck-photographer” Dominik Butzmann, are well connected in party circles. The research has shown that the Berlin-based photo professionals were able to win ten tender processes for long-term contracts in the past five years.

Baerbock barefoot on the beach, Scholz jogging

The photographers of the agency are very close to the work of Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens), Economic Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) or even Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD). They captured the famous photos of Baerbock barefoot on the beach of the Pacific island state of Palau as she addressed the consequences of the climate crisis, or of Scholz, looking sporty while jogging in Potsdam.


 

However, the deployment of external photographers has its price. According to their own statements, Baerbock’s ministry spent a total of 178,764.66 euros on Photothek photographers alone last year. They accompanied Baerbock on 82 trips since the beginning of the legislative period. The cooperation of the Foreign Office with the agency has been ongoing since 2018, it is further stated.

Foreign Ministry already criticized in April for high expenses

Most recently, Baerbock came under criticism in April for her expenses on a makeup artist amounting to 137,000 euros per year. Baerbock’s star makeup artist, Claude Frommen, reportedly receives around 7,500 euros per month, with the rest covering travel expenses and the like. A corresponding government document stated at that time: “The costs reflect that the service is associated with time-consuming travel activity and must also be provided ad hoc on weekends and at special times of day.”

The Federal Press Office now argues similarly to “Business Insider” in response to inquiries about the photographers’ costs: In individual cases, for example in the event of scheduling conflicts, external photographers must be commissioned to take over the task of the officially four, partly part-time employed, photographers. The Lindner’s ministry, on the other hand, stated that it is more economical to commission external photographers.


Aber nicht exclusively Baerbock, auch weitere politicians sowie their ministries spend a lot of money on staging, which is then partially visible on their Instagram and X-Accounts. The explosion of costs since the beginning of the traffic light government has already caused unease at the Taxpayers’ Association. “We believe that one can make a good impression on taxpayers’ money without expensive make-up artists while governing,” it was said in April already. The association then urged to calculate the expenses sensibly.

Costs of the traffic light government for Photothek photos:

  • The Bundestag: 109,083.19 euros since August 1, 2021
  • Development Ministry of Svenja Schulze (SPD ): 99,900 euros since the beginning of the legislative period
  • Ministry of Federal Agriculture von Cem Özdemir (Greens): 69,436 euros since the beginning of the legislative period
  • Chancellery of Olaf Scholz (SPD): 57,407.99 euros (gross) since the beginning of the legislative period
  • Ministry of Federal Justice von Marco Buschmann (FDP): 26,539.19 euros for the entire legislative period
  • Ministry of Federal Finance von Christian Linder (FDP): no information after inquiry from “Business Insider”
  • Ministry of Federal Family von Lisa Paus (Greens): no information
  • Ministry of Federal Health von Karl Lauterbach (SPD): no information
  • Ministry of Federal Economy von Robert Habeck (Greens): no information


 

Angela Merkel also faced criticism for excessive spending

Politicians have also been vain and conscious of good staging. The former Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) came under criticism for high spending on her stylist. And since she has left office, the taxpayer has paid 55,000 euros for her styling and make-up.

Even the Bavarian Minister President Markus Söder (CSU) does not seem to be free from vanity. Last year, he is said to have spent around 180,000 euros on freelance photographers, the German Press Agency reported in August. For comparison: his predecessor Horst Seehofer only spent 10,891.47 euros.

But why do politicians spend so much money on self-presentation?

“Image maintenance has always been in the interest of politicians,” said Koelbl, who photographed the former Chancellor Angela Merkel for decades, to “NZZ”. “Rulers have always tried to stimulate and influence the people. This has a long tradition and is now particularly relevant again through social networks.”

The photographer sees a stronger turn to images as a reaction to an increasingly outraged public. “Politicians in general have become much more cautious,” Koelbl continued. “Just think about how the former Chancellor Angela Merkelonce wore a neckline at the inauguration of the Oslo Opera. This was reported in the media and Mrs. Merkel never wore neckline again after that.

As a politician, one leads a life on display. “No matter what clothing they wear, what hairstyle they have, where they spend their vacations, what car they drive – everything is always judged, evaluated or condemned,” said Koelbl. Politicians must learn to maintain their image, not constantly collide, in order to not constantly be exposed to the judgment of others.

The intensive image maintenance of German politicians is certainly reflected in the costs for photographers, hairdressers, and makeup artists after the first full year of the traffic light coalition. Compared to the expenses of the previous government in the previous year, these increased by almost 80 percent – to around 1.5 million euros, as calculated by the Association of Taxpayers.

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