Skip to content

Conversation with Uwe Michael Neumann on Portraying Reality: Member, CIVIQ High IQ Society (4)


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2021/10/08


Uwe Michael Neumann developed a love of photography when he got his first camera, a Polaroid, at the age of eight years old. From 1982 to 1988, Neumann diverted from photography, studying law at Cologne State University. But his love of photography, driven by curiosity and the desire to see new things and discover and show their beauty, always called him back. He conducted his first photo tour in Provence, France in 1992. In 1998 he visited New York where he further developed his photographic style; experimenting with verticals and keystone/perspectives. Launching into the field of international cooperation he combined his daily work with his photography in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Estonia, Georgia, Finland, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Sweden and Ukraine. In November 2014, Neumann attended the wedding of a daughter of the Sultan of Foumban, Princess Janina, in Foumban, north-west of Cameroon. There he met and became friends with the famous French photographer and producer, Alain Denis who inspired him to become a professional photographer, instructing him in portrait and landscape photography. After his life-changing visit to Cameroon in 2014 Neumann returned there in February 2015 taking photographs of Central Africa’s unique nature and everyday life, which differed greatly from Europe, and even tourist destinations in Africa like Kenya and the Republic of South Africa. During his stay in Central Africa, he lived in Yaoundé, Cameroon and travelled frequently to Equatorial Guinea, the Central African Republic, Gabon, Chad and Congo Brazzaville, among the poorest countries in the world. He also visited and photographed Algeria, Kinshasa (Democratic Republic of Congo), Benin, Kenya, Egypt, Mauretania and the Republic of South Africa. Neumann focused on often-overlooked treasures in nature, the environment, and beauty in places seemingly dominated by poverty. In October 2017, Neumann returned to Berlin and worked on over 90,000 photos from Africa, launching his first exhibition in May in ‘Animus Kunstgalerie’, Berlin. In October 2018 his exhibition ‘Inner Africa’ in GH 36 gallery in Berlin was focused on Central Africa displaying not only a huge variety of photographs, but also traditional masks from different regions. In 2019 and 2020, other exhibitions at Bülow90, Berlin and Nils Hanke, Berlin followed. In Ghent, Belgium, he was a speaker at the European Mensa Meeting 2019 on Africa and presented some of his works.  He was also invited to present his works in the online exhibition e-mERGING a r t i S T S. and again at GH36 in the exhibition No Time. One of his photos was on the title page of the Norwegian magazine Dyade in 2019. His photos have also been featured several times in the online Magazine Foto Minimal & Art. In December 2021 his works were part of an exhibition at Basel Art Center in Basel, Switzerland. He discusses: myths around intelligent people; Yaounde, Cameroon, and photographing reality.

Keywords: Cameroon, IQ, myths, photography, reality, Uwe Michael Neumann.

Conversation with Uwe Michael Neumann on Portraying Reality: Member, CIVIQ High IQ Society (4)

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

Scott Douglas Jacobsen: This also another aspect of some of the conversations that I have with others. I mean, there are some myths around, not intelligence testing. All of those exist. It’s more around the aspects of intelligence. So, the idea that since someone has higher intelligence level; they, therefore, must have some compensatory mechanism. They must have a deficit in some area, other areas. These kinds of assumptions. And it’s harder to observe: A because it’s not physical prowess, which is immediately observable in someone. You can see someone as fit. Things coming from the mind are outputs. So, you have to see the person’s outputs in terms of intellectual productions, how they behave in life, et cetera, to get more of these more ephemeral qualities of the individual, which would be intelligent output in a wide range of or various circumstances. So, I can see a reason for a larger set of myths around intelligence just based on its being observed. At the same time, it also leads to a question. What are those myths? What have you come across as some of the myths about higher intelligence? And what do you think are some truths to dispel?

Uwe Michael Neumann[1],[2]*: I think many people are afraid of intelligent people. And maybe, also, because they think they are evil or something, and they want to be powerful or they want to use power. There may be some evil people, of course, I have read the Nazi leaders were also very intelligent, some of them. Of course, there are some evil people, but I think it’s not worse than any other layer of society. And maybe, that is one thing. Of course, that intelligent people are crazy; and that they are drug addicts. Some kind in some form. I remember once I spoke to a guy, some working class guy. He said that all the people from the university; they’re not drinking alcohol. They are into other substances and so on.

So, I think, maybe, one thing is also very common, which is also true that people, as far as I know; people rather tend to stay up late. And wake up late, some night owls, at least, that’s perfectly true with me and so many people who I know. But also, of course, there are others, the opposite. I would say that the main thing would be; I think that people think we are some kind of evil or also the myth that we have a high degree, academic degrees. And I know people who are working who are fitness trainers and who are carpenters who have very high IQ. So, basically, there is a high percentage of people who have an academic degree. I’m a lawyer. I have two law degrees. So, of course, many people have that. But it’s not necessarily the case.

And maybe, some professors of mathematics, they don’t have a high IQ, but, of course, they are capable of solving problems. I mean, it’s also, maybe, one myth: some people get tested and they get the result; they think, “Now, yes, I can do anything. I have an high IQ. I can just learn that, and I can do that.” No, IQ is one element. But to be successful in the field, you cannot replace or substitute, let’s say, experience by IQ, by intelligence. Because when you don’t know how to speak – let’s say – the ‘language,’ when you don’t practice, then you cannot speak it. And even if you have the highest IQ in the world, you have to practice.

Jacobsen: These are very important points. So, when you’re in Yaounde, Cameroon and taking photographs. What kinds of nature photographs or photography do you prefer, e.g., animals or landscapes, etc.?

Neumann: Actually, for me, it was very interesting to see the animals, especially the birds, because that’s really something that is really different. You don’t know to see it at first, but when you are sitting on your terrace. You look around. I remember one day I called and talked to my brother on the phone or Skype. The birds were singing, and it was very different from Europe. And I realize that the birds are completely different. And you don’t hear about that when you see a TV program about Africa. But when you’re there, this is a very small detail. And that was very interesting. And they are fast, and it’s also a challenge to take photos of them because they are so quick; and they move around. The spot photographers, they make a lot of fuss about the movement. I mean, it’s also great work.

But if you want to take photos of small birds that move around, that is really also hard work and a challenge. But what I also like is to just take pictures of ordinary people in ordinary situations because, at least we here in German-speaking Europe, we are getting a wrong idea by the media. I think they are completely missing the point when they talk about Africa. They are portraying it as if in Africa, everybody is starving. There’s constant catastrophe everywhere. Nothing is getting better and people are fleeing. But I can tell you: let’s say, if you look at the women, they are not as thin as European women because they don’t have this model culture when you have models like very small.

But when you see models from a fashion show from Nigeria, the models are like Ruben ladies. They’re completely different. And they are not starving. There is enough food for everybody and people are not fleeing, normally leaving the country, because they are so poor. But these are the people who have some more money and who want to go to, basically for most of them; it’s a business. And they want to improve their lives, which I can understand. But if you are starving, of course, that’s where there’s conflict. Usually, people are starving when there is conflict. And when the supply lines are cut off. We were having that in Germany in the First World War because the British blocked our supply lines. So, thousands of people, 10,000 were starving in Berlin in one summer, I think 1917, simply because the supply lines were cut off and that happened.

So also in Africa, that’s the same, when you have a conflict and the supply lines are cut off. Then, of course, people might starve. But the normal situation is not that people are starving. They have lots of food there. And actually, I’m thinking about showing photos of fat women from Africa to break this myth of the starving population. It’s not that I don’t want to help them, but I think the idea we get from the media, at least in Europe and Germany, is completely wrong. And it’s not like a permanent suffering. Of course, people have a lower level of life and the qualities and standards are much lower, but still it’s improving and it’s not like a permanent catastrophe. So, that’s why I’ve to come back to the original point. That is why I just want to show photos of this normal life, which for many people might not be so exciting because they are used to see like people from these tribes with the colorful things, with the spear and so on.

Ok, that is like if somebody from Bavaria is wearing leather trousers. It’s a traditional clothing, but people don’t use that in normal life. So, this is not reality. It’s nice, great photos. But this is not reality. I’m interested in reality. And the problem is media shows very narrow points, which are catastrophe. That it’s like when you have; let’s say, you have a rash on your skin. You’re bleeding, and so on. Like when you put a micro lens on the bleeding, it looks like everything is bleeding. No, it’s not everything. There’s a point that it’s bleeding. But the rest of the body is functioning normal. So, I’m interested to see reality and to show reality might be boring to many people. But that’s what I’m trying to do.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Member, CIVIQ High IQ Society.

[2] Individual Publication Date: October 8, 2021:; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2022:

*High range testing (HRT) should be taken with honest skepticism grounded in the limited empirical development of the field at present, even in spite of honest and sincere efforts. If a higher general intelligence score, then the greater the variability in, and margin of error in, the general intelligence scores because of the greater rarity in the population.


In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: