Before we all buckle up for this little joyride, let me start with a disclaimer: the selection of places below is a very subjective one, intending to highlight the wide range of leisure options available around Warschauer Strasse, but even more so to convey some of its unique spirit and direct your attention at a few lesser-known spots. Therefore, I am going to include some of the more or less immediate vicinity, fully aware of the fact that Schlesi is in Kreuzberg, and leave off some distinguished venues like Berghain, since they’re doing a great job speaking (raving?) for themselves.
Have you ever been one of those people who have contemplated quite a few times what dream ability they would like to have in a utopian, perfect world, where surreal is a synonym to possible? Personally, I would love to be able to fly and see everything from above. It would help me realize to the fullest how little each of us is in comparison to the entire world and how we often tend to think that we are the center of it.
Whereas this still remains impossible, Berlin Bird’s Eye brings you at least a step closer to this experience. This project basically has set out to use drones to capture mesmerizing views of Berliner neighborhoods from above. Take a look at the videos they have been publishing weekly since last December and admire the breathtaking views over snow-covered Hasenheide, Görlitzer Park, Frankfurter Allee, Rummelsburger Bucht and the Spree.
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…
What does it mean to become an urban observer? What makes you notice things from a distance that others won’t see even up close? With this questions in mind I was thrilled when we had the chance to join Instagrammer Liz Vega on a photo shoot on a Berlin rooftop.
Liz has a particular talent for urban exploring and observing the city from high perspectives. As if she would be able to touch the invisible texture of the atmosphere beneath our beloved city with her fingertips and slowly bring it up into the light with her photographs.
Unfortunately, one of us had to stay behind during this photo shoot because we wanted to be as few as possible on the roof to minimize the risk to get caught. But thanks to the magic of modern technology we found a way for our remaining team member to join us on the roof, virtually. We had the chance to use the new Panasonic Nubo camera as a special equipment to help us out in this particular production situation.
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…
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.
Köllnischer Fischmarkt, 1886, photo: F. Albert Schwartz
At iHeartBerlin, we believe that living in your city makes much more fun once you get to know it a little. Why not go beyond mastering the most frequented routes leading to Mauerpark, Warschauer Strasse, or Berghain (well, at least to its gates), and find out something about Berlin’s origins? We’ve got quick facts you may impress your next Tinder date with. You never know.
Hallesches Tor, 1894, photo: Robert Prager
On iHeartBerlin, we’ve already put forward arguments for claims like Berlin is a Psycho and so on, but today, I’d like to tell you for once what Berlin is not, although I might have thrown some such accusations in the past. Berlin is not a liar. Or at least Kreuzberg isn’t.
Leaving the dubious honesty of its inhabitants aside, Kreuzberg stays steadfast and true. I’ve checked. And now you can, too. Have you ever wondered why does the U1 like to trick us into believing we’d be seeing some gates (“Tor” in German)? And then you get out on Kotti and what you actually see (and smell) is so different from the Brandenburger Tor you even doubt you’re still in the same city.
We’ve found pictures from the turn of the 19th century, so before Kreuzberg was even Kreuzberg. It was officially formed on 1 October 1920 by the Greater Berlin Act, which reorganized Berlin into 20 boroughs.