Change of View
is a photo documentary article series that captures a personal view on the status quo of our cities. This article compares the view of Berlin by a local photographer and a foreign photographer, who then collaborated on two pictures. Enjoy this visual dialogue between Berlin photographer Marcus Werner
and Copenhagen photographer Caroline Kurze
. This article originally appeared on Smart Urban Stage.
1. WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY IN THIS CITY?
Discovering the secrets of the city
Berlin is a vast city with a ton of obvious things to like about it. What makes us happy though are not the elements that are on the surface but those which lie beneath it. Berlin is host to many secrets, from a cultural to a visual perspective. There are endless possibilities of exploring the many sides of a city. It’s all about seeing the details and interpreting them for ourselves. We appreciate how many different facets Berlin has to offer in that way.
The faces of Berlin
Any city shows its true face by the way its citizens look and behave. Berlin is a melting pot of styles and characters. There is no way to sum them up, just like there is no way to sum up Berlin properly. What makes me happy is that I can just sit anywhere in Berlin and watch who passes me by, realizing that never will there be two characters even remotely alike.
2. WHAT INSPIRES YOU IN THIS CITY?
Making something out of nothing
Berlin has many leftover spaces that have once been abandoned and forgotten. But there is a movement within the people of the city to use these places creatively and form them into something useful. It’s very inspiring to see what a small idea of a few people can achieve here and what motivates the individual to participate in the work. The Prinzessinnengarten at Moritzplatz in Kreuzberg, an urban gardening project, is a perfect example for that.
Composition of the city
Architecture is the most visually compelling element of a city, but Berlin basically draws you into it by its many contrasts and dichotomies. Behind every corner could lie the perfect shot and a most mesmerizing composition. For a photographer, that in itself is very inspiring; but I do believe that every person can actually profit, inspiration-wise, from a place that is as erratic as Berlin.
3. WHAT WORKS FOR YOU VERY WELL IN THIS CITY?
If there’s one thing in Berlin that works, then youth culture it is. Every kid in the streets from Charlottenburg to Kreuzberg has the luck to grow up in a liberal and overall peaceful environment, thus enabling everyone from a young age on to participate in the shaping of the city. The Admiralsbrücke in Kreuzberg is, next to the vivid club scene, just one of those organically grown spots to hang out in the summer. Always packed with young adults, from the sporadic tourist to the local singer/songwriter presenting their talent, this is only possible thanks to the lax laws about drinking in public and the people’s general openess towards youths.
No doubt: Berlin is a huge place to get around. Besides a very comfortable traffic situation for all the passionate bikers, for a tourist the public transport possibilities are probably the most important. And thus, compared to many other big cities in the world, Berlin exceeds all expectations: buses go all night, hardly any train is late and the condition of the platforms are usually high quality. Logistically, this is probably what makes Berlin an easy place to visit as well.
4. WHAT WOULD YOU DO BETTER?
After the relocation of the old YAAM club the place at Cuvrystr. is abandoned since. But in Berlin this doesn´t mean that it’s empty. To the contrary it gets used now as a nice chillout spot alongside the Spree river with a perfect view on the historic Oberbaumbrücke. You can find open air raves there as well as Barbecues or a graffiti wall of fame. It’s a free spot just how Berlinians like it.
Weather & Water
The old Tempelhof airport is a raw diamond in the heart of the city. With the size of New York’s Central Park everybody is curious about how the area will develop in the next years. Until then it´s a perfect hangout spot for the summer with a lot of possibilities for outdoor activities and a nice open view.
5. HOW WOULD YOU DO IT BETTER?
More water, and more nice weather
It would be cheeky to ask for a lot more than Berlin has already to offer. And yet there are exactly two things that seperate Berlin from a near state of perfection: more water, and more nice weather. The summers are short and the water is rare. It‘s unlikely that we can improve the situation by praying for a tropical climate or artifically attaching the sea to the borders of the city. But how about more water in parks and more free access to the rivers and lakes?
Free state of mind
Berlin is a very rapidly changing city. With the new influx of tourists and the international hype drawing more and more investors to the German capital, citizens are often suprised by economic and political decisions, for instance such about free spaces. We would love for the people to accept and embrace these changes by getting involved, possibly even defending their city from too many economically driven influences to keep it in its lovable and free state of mind but all of that without becoming intolerant. This general interest is what has kept the waste land on Cuvrystraße in Kreuzberg a free place for everyone.
About the photographers:
Local – Marcus Werner aka DT64 is a Video- and Photographer with an MA in Media Science and Intercultural Business Communications. Together with Clemens Poloczeck he runs the media agency SUPERIEST focusing on Production, Consulting and Conception of Video-Content. He also contributes to Finding Berlin.
Visitor – Caroline Kurze is currently working as writer and photographer in Berlin. She just relocated from Copenhagen where she completed her studies and worked for one year. In Berlin she started as freelance editor and photographer at iGNANT. iGNANT offers the possibility to follow her passion for art, architecture, photography and design as well as developing her photographic approach.
Check out the Change of View looks at Istanbul, Madrid, London, Paris and Rome on Smart Urban Stage.