My third passion – after photography and horses – is travelling. Of course, my camera always joins my adventures. I have been particularly fascinated with photographing foreign and domestic cityscapes. A few years ago I started documenting public art that I came across – street artists, street performers and musicians sharing their art with the rest of the world completely for free. What started out on a whim has become a bit of a personal project of mine which I am now prepared to share in between my client shoots. Make sure to also check out my Instagram where I use the hashtags #SundaySteetart or #WorldStreetArt. I would love to see your own images of public art under those tags, too!
Late this summer, my PhD work took me on a two-day trip to the German capital. I spent my spare time pursuing a special interest of mine that often comes too short these days: street photography and street art. I decided to visit and capture the East Side Gallery, a sight I still remembered vividly from my last visit to Berlin – a school trip over ten years ago!
I stumbled across my first piece of art on my way from the underground station to the East Side Gallery. The "Pink Man" by the Italian artist Blu is inconspicuously tucked in a corner on the south side of the famous Oberbaum Bridge, the most beautiful bridge in Berlin. Unfortunately, as you can see the artwork has been tagged by other graffiti - there is more at the bottom which I deliberately cut off. Smearing over and scribbling over and around famous pieces of art is a common sight in Berlin and East Side Gallery has not been spared. In 1996 an initiative called Künstlerinitiative East Side Gallery e.V. formed to keep the 101 murals intact and in 2009 many of the murals were finally cleaned or repainted by the original artists.
Birgit Kinder, who is responsible for one of my favourite murals, showing a little Trabi - a typical East German car - crashing through the Iron Curtain unscathed has documented the development of her artwork on her website. As you can see in the cover image of this article it remains fairly clean since she has repainted it - increased financial efforts have helped. Personally, I find it difficult to understand what drives people to tag iconic pieces of art like this in a city that has a million blank walls available.
As I arrived at the East Side Gallery, a temporary exhibition caught my eye. "Beyond The Wall" is a project by the German-American artist Stefan Roloff. It features stills of videos that Roloff shot of the Berlin Wall in 1984 alongside silhouettes and stories of people who were affected by the wall.
Unfortunately, the exhibit was only open until the 9th of November this year. I wish it had been available for longer or would find a permanent space as I found it incredibly powerful and I felt it would have made a wonderful long term installation. It was available in three languages (German, English and Spanish) as well.
Since I was due to meet up with a friend and spent a lot of time with the temporary exhibit, I only ended up walking about half of the East Side Gallery. Bearing in mind that it is the largest open air gallery in the world, featuring over 100 pieces of art, I photographed I handful of my favourites. I am leaving you just with those now.