As part of a German class, we all hiked up to Wedding to “tour” some “legal” “graffiti.” (Like, five. Nur funf!!~)
In the cold and wet.
After my own personal exciting urban exploration, this was sort of a drag, whether it beat the classroom or not is still in debate.
^The courteous sign alerting us the mirrored building was under video surveillance.
As the sun began it’s ascent and slow close of yet another Berlin evening, Connor and I climbed in.
I took a train from Mannheim the Saturday before the Freie Universität Berlin European Studies Program began. My host ma picked me up from the station. She told me she had a daughter my age studying abroad in France – she was also a redhead, and I’d be staying in her room. Once I got my luggage up the stairs, all seemed well, until we came to the living room. She said I couldn’t sit on the couches — I laughed, I thought it was a joke… it is different here.
The first day at Brentanostraße 50, I met Matt. He lived just one stop down from me on the S1, at Mexikoplatz. I heard Roger Waters’ the Wall tour was coming to Berlin. (I mean, the Wall!! In Berlin!! Come on.) No one else at the Mensa seemed as keen on it. Matt and I got our tickets and two weeks later were on the U2 headed out toward Olympiastadion.
The show began in a blaze of fire. Our seats were high enough up that we couldn’t distinguish the shadows on Roger Waters’ face, but technology helped out. A wall of screens behind him illuminated him and media messages, in German and English.
A swirl of dark sounds and entangled memories ensued.
The last time I came to Berlin was a year and some months before, but it seemed a very distant, vibrant memory. It was for a photojournalism course, and the first time I decided Berlin was my favorite city (mein Lieblingstadt). It was a brief stay and I had no idea what was in store.
This time was different. I knew more German. I had a handle on the public transport. But the people were different. There were more of them, and everyone’s uncle was somebody. A network of people who want to move the world.
As an introduction to the city and it’s history, we went to the Soviet war memorial and military cemetery in Treptower Park. We took a boat tour down the Spree. We had a welcome dinner at the Botanischer Garden with our host families. That was the night I met Megan, the only other redhead in the program, which was apparently enough to confuse us till the very end. I went with her to a doom metal show, Obelyskkh, and met some German friends, with whom I proceeded to travel from bar to bar with until dawn, when I finally caught the S1 back to my host stay in Zehlendorf. A true Berlin experience.
The book that holds proof of all the hard work we put in during our two weeks in Berlin is available in print, as well as on the internet for anyone interested to see.
Just click on the picture, and the link will take you to a place where you can read about all the interesting people we were so privileged to meet, speak with and take photos of during our wunderbar time in Berlin.
No, I’ve been having a great time catching trains and traveling to a city I’ve never been to every three days. But still, there’s something about Berlin that isn’t anywhere else. Maybe its something to do with the efficiency…East/West differences, the artistic attraction or the history the city holds. I don’t know, a “gestalt”, if you will.
Anyway, here’s a link to the final project from my two weeks there:
We met with Timothy Fadek, conflict photographer, at der Institut fur Fotografische Bildung. http://www.timothyfadek.com/ (You might want to check out his photos.)
He has taken pictures in Cairo, Haiti, Bangledesh, Iraq to name a few.
9 months ago Fadek moved from New York to Berlin. Much easier, not to mention cheaper, to hop on a plane to Athens from Berlin, which is what he did this morning.
“They don’t give assignments to people who are still at home– you have to be there,” Fadek said.
Berlin is much closer geographically to the places that he works in. He went to Cairo, in November to shoot the “non-revolution, or revolution that failed, but a second mini-revolution started, and I happened to be there.”
We asked about how he protects himself as he deliberately walks right into the conflict. He’s got a flak jacket, but doesn’t use it. He says it gives you a false sense of security, “like you’re ninja turtles.” Its better for you to feel fear. Or more of a hyper awareness of your vulnerability(maybe fear’s too strong a word).
“I got shot twice with rubber bullets– I didn’t know rubber bullets could go through plywood.”
He pulled up a picture on the projector of a man with blood over his face, “This happened every 10 seconds.” There was a nasty Eqyptian cop, they called him the eye-hunter, who deliberately aimed at people’s face to knock their eyes out.”
You have to choose a side– never between, with the cops, you’ll be safe, but– “The protestors will be setting fire to trucks — not cops.” You have to always trust your instincts.
“I’ve had dozens and dozens of close-calls,” Fadek said, but the most important thing is– don’t drink the water.
“Sometimes you’ll be in a situation where no one else can help, and you have to put your camera down. You’re a person first, photographer second.”
Timothy Fadeck finished NYU at 21, where he studied marketing and then went into the advertising business. At 29, he dropped off a portfolio of pictures at the New York Times and got his first job as a photographer.