Mendelssohn-Bartholdy-Park/Gleisdreieck

PLACES

Berlin is full of such constructions, heavy steel beams riveted together to form an industrial flavoured urban infrastructure upon which the local public transport system flows.

This is the section between U-Bahn Station Mendelssohn-Bartholdy-Park and U-Bahn Station Gleisdreieck, and although the “U” in U-Bahn stands for Untergrund – Underground – as much as 20% of it in Berlin travels above on these monuments to a bygone age, it’s what gives parts of Berlin it’s urban texture.

STREET PHOTOGRAPHY

On another note, although street photography in Germany is legal, it’s becoming increasingly difficult as I once again discovered when out taking these images, although there is the panorama law in effect, I was approached by a police officer and told to stop photographing.

This is increasingly a problem in Germany, one Saturday afternoon last year while I was sitting on a public bench, on the Ku’damm, a main shopping-street in central Berlin, innocently adjusting the colour balance on my camera, the camera pointing down between my knees, I was approached by 5 different people, who all demanded that I immediately stop what I was doing, because they were of the opinion that whatever it was I was up to, that it was illegal, and I was threatened with the police and/or physical violence if I didn’t do as I was told, and my British accent only seemed to inflame the situation still further.

And it’s becoming ever more usual that when I’m out in a public space with the camera, that I’m approached by a complete stranger, who demands to know what I’m doing and then insists that I delete all the images on my SD-Card, whether I have taken any photos or not.

The natives here certainly have a peculiar sense of tolerance.



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Schlesische Straße/Falckensteinstraße

STREET CORNERS

The North-West corner of Schlesische Straße/Falckensteinstraße in Kreuzberg, Berlin, 21/11/2020 a Saturday between 15:00 and 16:00.

COVID restrictions, lockdown, empty streets, featuring the usual Kreuzberg texture of half stolen bicycles, posters and graffiti, all on a typical dismal Autumn afternoon.



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Yorckstraße/Mehringdamm

The BSR, Berlin's rubbish disposal and street cleaning department
The BSR, Berlin’s rubbish disposal and street cleaning department

STREET CORNERS

Welcome to what will hopefully become a series about street corners.

This is the corner of Mehringdamm/Yorckstraße in Kreuzberg, Berlin, but not just any corner, it’s the South-West corner, 02/11/2020 a Saturday between 14:30 and 15:30, and being autumn,  it’s all about dirty streets and cleaning.

Lockdown still, and it’s not as busy as it usually would be, but the leaves are not aware of the pandemic and still fall from the sky in hues of yellow and brown, clogging both curb and drain.

And the police van turning the corner?

Don’t the police keep the streets free of crime?



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Pecha Kucha: Berlin

Pecha Kucha: Berlin
Pecha Kucha: Berlin

Click on image to watch

Or watch here: https://youtu.be/fWfJG2MFvL4

What is it?

One way of describing it is, that a Pecha Kucha is a very basic narrated PowerPoint presentation, 20 slides, each 20 seconds in length.

Why?

Because it was the latest assignment for the MA in Photography that I’m now doing, and it took such a long time to complete that it seems a waste not to do something with it, so here it is.

Assignment

From the lecturer:

I would like you to plan a walk through your town, city or local area, perhaps linking creative hubs or places of interest. You should spend time considering your route and planning your journey carefully. Your walk should give an insight into who you are as a creative individual, highlighting some of your key interests. It should also be an exploration of your professional environments and your local creative businesses. 

Path to the Tiergarten
Path to the Tiergarten

My Walk

I chose one of my favourite locations in Berlin, the Tiergarten, a huge wooded park right in the center of Berlin.

The background images are from the walk itself and the circular images my thoughts about the walk, the city, and my key interests, particularly in regard to creativity.

It wasn’t easy to cram it all into 400 seconds and still make it coherent, and of everything the narration itself was the most problematic and caused me more stress than everything else put together.

The remnants of a childhood stutter mean that it took me over 12 hours to record just 6 minutes of narration, and even then it was full of mistakes, so I’ve replaced it with a version by Fiona, my Mac’s Scottish English voice.

And she makes it sound all the better for it.

Image Gallery: Backgrounds

Image Gallery: Foregrounds



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Curiosity

How curious are you?

Welcome to this, an almost scientific experiment, to rate a series of 18 images according to how curious they make you feel about them.

There are no right or wrong answers, in fact most of them will be lucky to arouse any curiosity more than a yawn, and will therefore deserve no rating, but that’s the whole point of the experiment, to determine at which point curiosity is aroused – and your opinion is important.

Go through the image-gallery very quickly, an instinctive rating is just as accurate, and give each image a rating between 0 and 5 stars and leave comments as you feel appropriate.

Unfortunately you are required to be a and to participate, but I’ve tried to make it as painless a process as possible.

Rating Gallery

I hope you survived the ordeal and gained some insight as to what causes visual curiosity.

This is a subject I will be returning to occasionally over the following months.

Image Gallery



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The Boxi

Boxhagener Platz: Beauty and the beast
Boxhagener Platz: Beauty and the beast

COVID-19, all that spare time and nothing to do. 

So instead of making myself comfortable at home, the TV remote in one hand, a stale beer in the other, I decided to do something radical, and get myself all tooled up with some useful qualifications for when the crisis subsides, so I’ve enrolled to do an MA in Photography, online in Edinburgh, but being Anglo-Scottish myself, that’s almost like doing it at home.

Zu verschenken: To give away
Zu verschenken: To give away

Pecha Kucha

First real project: a Pecha Kucha.

A what?

Apparently it’s a very restricted narrated PowerPoint presentation, 20 slides, each no longer than 20 seconds.

And the theme is to critically explore a local issue in a wider context.

Is that all ?!?!

Feuermelder, the "Fire alarm" bar
Feuermelder, the “Fire alarm” bar

The Boxi

After ceaseless hours researching the German press for some inspiration, and watching dozens of Danny Dorling videos on YouTube, I suddenly had an idea: Gentrification and the negative effect it has on rents, it’s a huge issue here in Berlin at the moment.

So I decided to head on over to Boxhagener Platz in Friedrichshain, one of the trendier areas of Berlin, to see what all the fuss is about, and the following are some of the photos I took of the area.

“The Boxi”, as it is locally known, wasn’t quite what I was expecting, it’s a curious mixture of recently refurbished housing and what look like squats, everything at ground level covered in a thick layer of urban graffiti, and to compound the effect of the area having all the charm of Skid Row, it was market-day on the square.

Now all I have to do is write something about it !?!?

Further Info

Danny Dorling is a professor of Geography at Oxford, and very hot on inequality and the reasons for it – so interesting, a real eye-opener.

Danny Dorling: YouTube

Danny Dorling: Website

Image Gallery



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St. Hedwig’s Cathedral

St. Hedwig's Cathedral from 1920St. Hedwig's Cathedral from 2020

St. Hedwig’s Cathedral is a Catholic church situated at the historical Bebelplatz just off the Unter-den-Linden boulevard in central Berlin.

First erected between 1747 to 1887 by Frederick the Great, it sustained substantial bomb damage during WWII and was restored in a post-war modernist style.

As the later image shows, the cathedral is presently shut for renovations.

 



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12: Shadow Play

All the world's a stage
All the world’s a stage

Introduction

The stage is empty, having run out of fresh material the headline act has finally left, with the audience gone, peace reigns at last.

But what’s this?

A troupe of wandering urban bit-players has invaded the arena and is putting on an impromptu performance of its latest hit: “Real life is but a shadow of reality”.

It’s a challenging work. dark and mysterious under a contrasting bright sun, a giddying pantomime of movement, posing more questions than it answers.

The Stage

This is part of a continuing series of photos taken of a wall outside the main entrance to Bahnhof Zoo rail station, Berlin.

From “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare

All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts.

Image Gallery

Image Quality

Please excuse the dreadful quality of the images, but for safety’s sake I’ve started using my old iPhone for this project, because despite the belief that they are the world’s most tolerant culture, the people here in Berlin can be quite aggressive sometimes if they believe that their rights have been violated.



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11: It’s a dog’s life

All the world's a stage
All the world’s a stage

Introduction

With all this drama, even man’s best friend tries to get in on the act.

Dragged out for a walk, there’s not much to see or do here for our four legged friend, except maybe to have a good scratch.

The Stage

This is part of a continuing series of photos taken of a wall outside the main entrance to Bahnhof Zoo rail station, Berlin.

From “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare

All the world’s a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts.

Image Gallery

Image Quality

Please excuse the dreadful quality of the images, but for safety’s sake I’ve started using my old iPhone for this project, because despite the belief that they are the world’s most tolerant culture, the people here in Berlin can be quite aggressive sometimes if they believe that their rights have been violated.



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