Berlin – Unforgettable Past And Multikulti Present

I had to visit Berlin for a third time in order for It to hit me. And It hit me hard. Probably, because this on this trip I had more time to be with my thoughts and reflections.

What is that “It” I am talking about? It is the history that one can see in the German capital – the old buildings rebuilt, the line dividing the East and the West, the graffiti, the light, the memorials, the people and the feeling. Yes, Berlin has quite a few treats to offer. One just has to pay attention.

The initial reason for taking this trip was business. But since my colleague, fellow photographer and genuine football fan Florian Mühl was also asked to go; we have decided to leave Munich two days earlier geared up with tickets for a Union Berlin game and bags full of lenses.

The game was not good. The atmosphere was great. It was my first time at a former DDR stadium and one could clearly see the difference these fans represent. They carry their name with pride and quite rightly – “Eisern Union” (Iron Union). These normal working people who didn’t stop even for a moment being the #12 of Union Berlin deserve respect.

But enough of this and let me come back to Berlin – the city of unforgettable past and its multikulti present.

After my witnessing of an Ukrainian protest in front of the Brandenburg Gate (I blogged about here), I was standing in the outskirts of the “Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe” (Stiftung Denkmal für die ermordeten Juden Europas) watching a bunch of teenagers getting to the top of some of the taller stones and taking up position of a Facebook photo – each and every one of them in a funny position and not realizing what this memorial stands for… I was gasped, out of breath. I didn’t even think of taking up my camera and grasp this moment of complete disrespect…I couldn’t understand how one cannot respect one of the most shameful moment of mankind’s history. I couldn’t comprehend how one does not shiver and shake while walking between these stone blocks. I couldn’t find a better and more benevolent interpretation of striking a pose on a place like this than calling it ignorance… It wasn’t so long ago after all. We, the people, should be learning from history and remember the madness of hunger, reparations and outright Nazism created. We should never forget and moreover never repeat it.

Happily, the photographic trip around Berlin’s highlights took a different turn as soon as we left the memorial and moved on to the Reichstag, the library of the parliament “Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus” (on the banks of river Spree, the other spots near the Unter den Linden, Checkpoint Charlie and the piece of the Wall. I think that first stop we made influenced quite a lot the photos Florian and I were taking in the following hours. Both of us were in a pensive mode and it came not as a surprise that we focused mainly on pure mathematics – the geometry of shapes, architecture and reflections of lights. Ergo the high contrast of the post shooting editing and the more abstract vision I have applied in my pictures. The light that day was great, at moments a bit too strong, but still…

This mixture of old and new defines Berlin. It makes it different. It makes it Multikulti (as Berliners love to call it). It makes it a historical and architectural landmark everyone should visit. It makes it a place to be in a wonderful sunny day.

Copyright © 2014 Borislav Kiprin. All Rights Reserved.