“East or West?” the taxi driver asks in the course of our conversation while driving from Mitte to Kreuzberg. It goes without saying that I am also a Berliner by birth, like him. We talk about the resurrection of the Kurfürsten Damm and the crime on Kottbusser Tor, about the inadequate rents in the city center, and about those who have moved to Berlin, both new and old. “Uh, both,” I reply, biting my tongue at the same time. I realize what’s coming now. “Well, both doesn’t work” he corrects me, wise-assed. “Where did you go to school?” I could just lie and spare ourselves further questions. But we are right there, so I say: “In the West, but we lived in the East. That was before the fall of the Wall. “Now he is quite confused. I know the reaction. Anyone who grew up in Berlin in the 80s is either from the West or the East of Berlin. Only I can not answer this question clearly, because between 1986 and 1990 I lived in East Berlin, but went to school in West Berlin. I crossed the border daily in the Tränenpalast (Palace of Tears), as the commute to my school in West Berlin was called. I am neither Ossi nor Wessi, rather maybe Wossi: a child of both sides. I am familiar with the gray East with its bullet holes in the walls of the houses, the empty shelves in supermarkets, and the cozy East German atmosphere.
When we think of Berlin as a tourist destination, there’s one spot that invariably attracts all kinds of visitors. Whether it’s your grandma or the cool chick you met in London, they’ll want to see the East Side Gallery. And while you’re there, don’t be surprised when your guest (well, maybe not the grandma), will ask you to take a selfie with what’s become the most recognizable graffiti of them all.
Its actual title is ‘’My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love’’, but if that doesn’t ring a bell, you probably know it as something along the lines of ‘’Two Older Guys Sharing an Intense Kiss’’. And guess what? Although the image itself is now widely regarded as something of a symbol for Berlin’s general inclusivity and the city’s welcoming approach towards anything LGBTQ, the history behind it is a bit different.
photo: Sebastian Mayer
Three photographers, three decades, three visions – that is the subtitle to a photo series about Berlin that brings back memories of its wildest times, subculture and underground scenes. Berlin is a city that is dynamic, fast and constantly changing. These photos are testaments to a rebellious and fascinating past.
This interesting documentary by Petra Tschörtner about the district Prenzlauer Berg in the year of the reunification of Germany is a must-see for anyone interested in the recent history of the city. I like it because you can see a lot of parallels in today’s subculture and I also think it’s interesting to see how difficult the change of the reunification was for a lot of people in East Berlin. And take a look at the long-haired bearded photographer at the travesty show at 29 min. Could be the 90’s version of me 😉
photos: Alexander Steffen
Should you ever talk to people who have lived in Berlin for decades, there is no chance that they won’t underscore how much the city has changed through time. Unfortunately, they are not pleased with what Berlin has turned into and while each of them might have a different account of what exactly the core of the problem is and who is to blame, they would all agree that gentrification has exacerbate the situation. Without intending to initiate another debate on how to tackle this alarming phenomenon, I would like to raise awareness for a beautiful photo project by Alexander Steffen. Having grown up in West Berlin, he started the project Vanishing Berlin in 2009 by taking pictures of transient landmarks all over the city. Wastelands, storefronts and brick walls are central elements of his work. While some of the photographs seem to have been captured decades ago, they were all taken in the last seven years. Alexander’s focus doesn’t lie on the past, but on the process of change instead. In October 2016 the book was officially released and can be ordered online here. On September 8th 2017 Alex will open his new exhibition revisiting his Vanishing Berlin series.
We love Berlin for its multicultural feeling and the endless freedom – everyone can be and look just as they like to. But not only the people, who live in Berlin make up an interesting mix. The Berlin architecture has its own language and tells a lot about Berlin’s past, history, and constant change. Yes, there is still a wild clash of different architectural styles, which attract lots of visitors. But there are also a lot of buildings that have become victims of the passing time and inevitable changes.
Some left quietly without anyone hardly noticing and others left with lots of protests and a loud bang. Either way, the second world war, the cold war, and the GDR left their marks on our beautiful skyline and within the different areas of Berlin. Inspired by the book “Abgerissen!” by Arnt Cobbers we want to take a look back at some of Berlin’s architecture that we lost along the way…
All Photos:Eylül Aslan
Berlin is probably most quiet in Winter, most happy in Spring, most sexy in Summer and most beautiful in Autumn.
I feel like a Japanese tourist with an astonished gaze on my face while walking in the parks and streets of Berlin full of colorful trees. My city walks are in no way diminished by the typical meteorological events of Autumn: wind and rain. Quite the contrary, I am particularly in love with the days where the wind swirls the leaves around and I feel the drops landing on my head.
Together with photographer and friend Eylül Aslan and one of her beautiful models we took a rain boot walk testing the new rain boots collection of Brazilian brand Havaianas through cloudy Berlin and created some pictures in our favorite spots for a rainy day. Our Autumn day recommendations and more photos after the jump.
Wings of Desire
The Rainer Werner Fassbinder exhibition at the Martin-Gropius-Bau got us thinking of all the important and inspiring films set in Berlin. In a subversive metropolis that has seen more changes than anywhere in Western Europe over the last 150 years, many filmmakers have made movies as unmistakable love letters to Berlin. With no lack of deranged tentacle sex, drug abuse and political struggle, we’ve rounded up our favorite films with Berlin playing a major role. Spanning close to 9 decades, our list takes you on a tour of Berlin at different historical points, through all the luxury and glamour, the horror and disillusion. From German Expressionism to German New Wave, click on to see which films made the cut.
I don’t know what’s up with us but lately we are feeling so nostalgic and enjoy sharing some more historic things about our beloved Berlin, may it be about the Berlin wall, the post-war period or the wild 80s of West Berlin. Today we have yet another look into the 80s, but this time of the East part of Berlin. We found this interesting propaganda film from the GDR that shows the capital of the country in all its glory. It has tons of footage of the same places that we cross every day, but in an entirely different look back then. If you ignore the exaggerations and glorifications from the speaker this is actually a really nice document of time that gives you a good impression of how Berlin looked at the time (even if it was maybe only for the moment of filming) and how the GDR would have liked to be seen by the people. The video and some of my favorite stills after the jump!
photos: Philipp J. Bösel & Burkhard Maus
In 1984 the photographers Philipp J. Bösel and Burkhard Maus had a funny idea: Let’s go to West Berlin and photograph the entire 18 km of the Berlin Wall as seen from the West! The result was a stunning series of 1144 black and white photos that would make up a huge panorama if you would line them up next to each other. This is probably the most detailed documentation of the exterior of the Berlin Wall that was taken before it got torn down in 1989. In these photos you see a lot of funny graffitis my favorite one being the one above that reads “What the fuck are you looking at, never seen a damn wall before?” in dry German words.
25 years later this photo series was turned into a beautiful photobook published by Verlag Kettler. It’s an amazing documentation of one of the most significant periods of Berlin’s history and now one of the must-have Berlin books for every Berlin lover. There are only 1144 copies available of this limited edition, so you better hurry up to get yours. Some previews after the jump.