Projects > Anchor Out Claus

Prompted by fears of a new war, Claus immigrated to North America from Germany in 1959 at the age of nineteen. Ever since his arrival, he has been on a quest for a vital and meaningful life. He began work at an outpost near the Arctic Circle and later created sculpture in Southern California. For the past several decades, the waterways within the San Francisco Bay have been his home. Amongst California's 'Anchor outs', his reputation verges on legendary: the huge collection of barges and boats he has amassed were nearly all acquired freely by his efforts to reclaim them from ruin. These salvaged spaces surround his dwelling and are the back-bone of the utopia he envisions: a spacious place where friends can come to relax, grow food, and make art.

These photographs were taken in the years following a traumatic, femur-shattering fall from a barge Claus suffered in 2008. During months of recovery on the mainland, much of what he had amassed fell victim to theft and arson. Since retuning from his absence, a slow but steady effort to rebuild is underway.