photos: Markus Braumann
Winter could be described in countless ways. Among the most positive ones would be its definition as the time of year when all you want is to stay somewhere warm and cozy and spend quality time with your loved ones, while you are protected from the cold awaiting you outside. Should you be lucky and get the chance to see snow, well this can lead to a lot of fun. These days in Berlin, we have been experiencing both. In any case, there is a social and artistic side of winter in this city, that is perfectly encapsulated in the impressive photographs of Markus Braumann, which range from cars, train platforms or streets covered in white, the entire city disguised under the vail of fog or when the snow is combined with the breathtaking sunrise that cuts through the city. Enjoy his beautiful photos and let’s appreciate this snow-covered Berlin.
photos: Aviel Gan
When I first saw the event about the No Pants Subway Ride happening in Berlin I thought this was one of those joke events that are not for real. It wasn’t until yesterday night when photographer Aviel Gan submitted his pictures of the event to us that I realized that this was actually for real! So yesterday a group of people gathered in the subway and took their pants off. Just for the fun of it. It’s true, I read up on it on their Facebook page, there is no deeper meaning to it, simply an improvisation with open participation. Well, why not. Anything is possible I guess, especially here. The whole thing was initiated by a group called Improv Everywhere and hails all the way over from NYC, it’s been happening in Berlin already for 5 years in a row and it’s really the first year that I took notice of it. How could I have missed that? Enjoy the photos of the peculiar subway ride below.
For me 2016 was actually a great year, even though I almost don’t dare saying it out loud. A lot of sad and terrible things happened in 2016, yes, but there still was a lot of good stuff that I think needs some more attention: Small and big moments in Berlin that showed what a great city this is and what amazing people live here. We should focus more on these things, at least for a moment, and take these positive memories and feelings with us into the new year.
Here are the most happy moments and amazing happenings of 2016 in photos and videos.
In the last two years I have grown a bit tired of always carrying around my heavy SLR camera that I normally use to capture places and events in Berlin. I would still take pictures, but with my smartphone. I felt the quality was quite good and the convenience of it was too tempting. Also you just look less suspicious with a smartphone than with a real one.
But the fact is, I never really put it to the test how good the quality of mobile phone cameras really is compared to the big ones. A few weeks ago I joined a comprehensive workshop with famous photographer Paul Ripke who showed us some basic tricks on how to improve your photos and he also introduced one particularly interesting new development of smartphone photography which is the professional manual mode. We got to play around with the Huawei P9 and brand new Mate 9, both of which have quite remarkable cameras with a double lens by Leica. I took one of these two with me on a photowalk around Berlin and took direct comparison shots with a medium-sized SLR camera. The results will probably surprise you…
photo: Jon Ander
Graffitis are a poetic creation of the streets and with this in mind I invite you to take a closer look at your surroundings; maybe there’s a hidden message waiting to be discovered or an image to be admired.
Although subjective, when we think of graffiti and street art, we often come to think of abstractness, disorganization, aesthetics, movement, freedom and creativity and whether to make us laugh or to incite us to riot, the colorful scribbles, which tend to be innovative and original, are the guiding thread that leads to self-expression while stimulating body and mind. However, it’s not only about the aesthetics since their most important feature is actually connected with the reactions they get; in other words, it has to do with provocation. And Art needs provocation, often associated with originality, to be consequently educational – Art does not rest exclusively on moralizing concepts, but it is above all a container of criticism and reflection. And Berlin, as a magnet drawing artists from all over the world, is the perfect example to illustrate the concept of “provocative Art”.
photos: Matthias Piket
Lately, I’ve been totally into workshops. I like the feeling of learning new crafts and perfecting already existing skills. So I was more than happy when Huawei invited me to a mobile photography workshop by Paul Ripke. If you haven’t heard of this man, you should definitely google his name. He rose to fame with his book One Night in Rio where he captured the German soccer team up-close and personal at the World Championship in Rio back in 2014. But he’s not a typical sport and event photographer. With his work he comes so close to the action and the main protagonists that it almost feels like being right there between the athletes celebrating their victory.
With someone so accomplished of course there is a lot to learn, so after he introduced himself to us I was really curious what secrets of his success and profession he would share with us during this workshop. Much to my surprise, in the end the most valuable insight that I got beside a lot of technical stuff, was something quite more personal and inconspicuous…
Christmas: the time of year, when buying, consuming and eating reaches the frequency of breathing; all this accompanied by an often neglected essence of religion in the background. It is the time of year, when you look back at the last twelve months of your life thinking how many of last year’s resolutions you failed to achieve and set a new array of brand new unrealistic goals. On a more positive note, Christmas is the time of year, when you are surrounded by your loved ones exchanging gifts and appreciating having them in your life. If you are still contemplating what to get them this year, check out the following suggestions of presents, that are all made in Berlin and neatly curated by the awesome of berlin platform for stylish local design products that make excellent gifts and Berlin souvenirs.
photos: Sascha Kohlmann / CC
There are these times – especially when adulthood seems to be overwhelming and I am supposed to pretend to be an adult among others who are trying to fake it until they make it -, when I reminisce the old days, when I was a child unaware of the grown-up world and its tedious complexity; when my deepest frustration would revolve around my aversion to the lunch my dad had prepared for me that day and my biggest joy would be Santa’s advent with his presents. I am inclined to believe that it is a universal tendency to look back at the past with nostalgia and think how beautiful it all was back then. This kind of nostalgia is the feeling that takes over when I see Sascha Kohlmann’s pictures of old gumball machines. I automatically have to think of my mom bringing me home after kindergarten and me stopping her on the way to ask her if I could have a gumball, which back then meant the world to me. What memories do gumball machines bring up to you?
We’ve already mentioned Ashkan Sahihi as the author of the captivating and personal portrait series of women in Berlin. Born in 1963 in Teheran, the photographer grew up in Germany, and today he lives in Berlin, shooting pictures for publications like “Zeit Magazine”, “New Yorker”, and “Vogue”.
His most recent project, however, references to the time back in 1987 when the author, still pursuing his artistic identity, moved to New York. There, as he recalls in the foreword of the new photo book, he met other young men, like him searching for their own ways of fulfillment, forming a community that encouraged all forms of self-exploration.
The profession of the photographer has changed dramatically with the rise of digital photography and especially with smartphone cameras documenting our everyday life snap by snap. The ability of creating images has become somehow secondary. Nowadays outstanding photographers are rather conceptual artists that know how to translate the medium of photography itself into an outstanding piece of art by deeply analyzing social and anthropological dynamics.
More and more photographers became interested in creating work reflecting social media and especially dating apps where everybody uses photography as an act of self representation and key selling point on the meat market. Photographer Andrea Lavezzaro caught our interest with her project “It’s a match”.
Over a year she scouted Tinder users in Berlin. No matter the shape, size, gender or if they were strange, sexy or surreal. Her focus was on capturing the diversity of our city. Every picture was taken at the location where she met her matches (all aware she was doing a photography project of course). The only rule her subjects had to follow while taking their portrait was: no posing allowed. The results are now featured in an exhibition at Gallery Ori in Neukölln that runs until this Saturday. We had a little chat with Andrea about her project and how it will continue in the future. Read on after the jump.