For photographers, Berlin is a blessed city. There is a liberty and effervescence which from the point of view of the photographer is a constant source of enthusiasm. The places, styles, buildings…Everything is a little different, more relaxed, more multi-colored. The eccentric city of Berlin is a hotbed of alternative and libertarian values!
I have lived on several occasions in Berlin, and I always go back there. It’s a boundless playground and source of creative inspiration. The capital’s slogan of the “poor and sexy” city is well-deserved. From around Europe, creative types come together to enjoy the Deutsche Vita. Squats have been a mainstay, but there are new spots opening up here and there too. In this photo taken at Tacheles (before it closed), I used a wide angle to fully capture this dynamic energy. The lens highlights perspectives and the point of view right on the grand accentuates this effect.
Berlin is an architectural laboratory. You can find everything and the kitchen sink there too! History is still palpable in the buildings, from the Third Reich Blockhaus style to the neo-Stalin-era structures. Every period has left its mark. In the brand new Alexa Gallery, two steps from Alexanderplatz, the tile designs on the floor are reminiscent of the East German aesthetic. The photo was taken from the top floor. Taking the shot from up high lets you change your point of view. It also lets you take photographs with complete discretion!
You would have to have a whole library to pay real homage to the styles of the people of Berlin. I really love street photography, but I am a timid photographer. Swallowed up in the crowd, you’re a lot less visible when you’re taking photos. That’s the case with the picture here that I took during the traditional May Day demonstration. That’s when a tide of humanity takes over the Kreuzberg neighborhood.
In Berlin, having no money stimulates creativity. For a few weeks, vacant lots become party spots. Berliners are the masters of repurposing and making things work. All along the Spree, there are clubs fashioned out of windows, containers, wood pallets, to become the ultimate trendy destinations. The light that enters through all the windows here makes this a particularly photogenic scene.
For urban exploration, Berlin is one of the best spots in Europe. With the fall of the wall, abandoned buildings abound and slowly darken as they await a new destiny. This is the case with the Beelitz-Heilstaaten hospital, where endless corridors, crumbling ceilings, and mural frescoes continue to draw in dozens of curious visitors everyday. In this photo, I used a wide angle again to be able to encapsulate in the field of vision the entire stairwell even without the possibility of moving further back.
There’s always that zany little detail, like an unexpected object, a sign whose meaning has been diverted…Berlin has surprises on every street corner. Who put this sofa in the middle of the Square across from the Spree? The steps all around accentuate the surrealistic side and the red color that clashes with the gray of the ground directs all your attention to the object. The street performer puts on a show!
Mathieu Mouillet is a slow-paced globetrotter. Whether on foot or on his bike, he has been traveling the world for nearly 15 years now with pen and paper, cameras, and recorders for traveling companions. Through his travel diaries on Berlin, he shares his favorites from this constantly evolving city. Berlin isn’t a city people just visit. It’s a city to explore!
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