Many have that dream: to be at the centre of events, inside the group and within the walls. Well, Michael Hughes, British photographer who by coincidence found himself living in Berlin-Kreuzberg in the 1980s is one of the lucky ones.
Fascinated by Kreuzberg´s New-Model-World atmosphere and the people striving to realise their dream of living a different life than their parents and the so called “good citizens” did, Hughes stayed to observe and record the events unfolding around him.
Setting off with a camera from his flat in Oranienstrasse he was bound to find enough topics to keep him locked up in the dark-room with thousands of contact prints to choose from for days. If his arrival in Kreuzberg was anything to go by – which it very much was – then Hughes was up for a ride.
Here´s what the photographer says about getting to know Kreuzberg in June 1982:
»We had one telephone number of a Wohngemeinschaft in the Oranienstrasse in Kreuzberg SO36 – the middle of the squatting action. During the week that followed, I fell in love, was witness to burning police vans, was hit by flying stones, soaked by water cannons, chased by police charges and ingested much tear gas.«
Some of the photos recording that explosive and pretty unforgettable time can be admired now in Michael Hughes´ photo-album published by Berlin Story Verlag:
Photos by Adam Berry/Getty Images (taken July 10, 2013)
A series of giant photos shot since 2006 by photographer Kai Wiedenhoefer comprise an exhibit on the longest remaining stretch of the Berlin Wall, in what organizers called a protest underlining the futility of barriers to resolve conflict. The exhibit features large pictures of separation barriers at the world’s tensest borders in Baghdad, Korea, Cyprus, Mexico, Morocco, Israel, Belfast, and in the former East Germany itself.
“Walls are no solution for today’s major political problems and I think the Berlin Wall is the best proof of that.” says Wiedenhoefer. He photographed the barriers between 2003 and 2012 . It took five years to get permission to display the images in Berlin.
The “Wall on Wall’ exhibit will run through Sept. 13, 2013.