In 2009 I became a vagabond, selling everything I own and traveling the world.
Berlin was my first destination, and a month's stay produced a huge range of photos. One of the highlights was on day five, when my friend George and I happened upon the "Fuck Parade". The Berlin wall had come down and the tension between the comparatively rich of the West and the poor of the East was evident.
When exiting a train station in what used to be East Berlin we encountered a street parade immediately outside the station. The crowd was "different".
Alternative was the norm here.
There were a mix of happy celebrants and angry discontents. The only common thread seemed to be beer, drunkenness, and loud hard rock music.
We asked a police officer what was going on. He said it was the "Fuck Parade", and the people were protesting the lack of jobs. He sarcastically added that he was not sure any of the participants really wanted a job and he was not sure who would be interested in hiring them if they truly did wish to work.
Regardless, George and I had a great time milling through the crowd and seeing the sites.
Below is a gallery of more images from the Fuck Parade and other street photos from day five.
|Teenage RebelsYouth participating in the Fuck Parade. Fuck Parade 2009 participantsThese young ladies were typical of many of the participants. I am not sure they were there to protest the lack of jobs as much as enjoy the German beer.|
Street photography scares me.
My only phobia in life is fear of crowds. Street photography requires the photographer to be on the street, in the crowd. You cannot control the lighting, you cannot pose the model, you cannot carefully study the form in front of you, look at it from different angles, shoot multiple shots and select the best. Life unfolds before you in chaotic random sequences and you have to see the fleeting moment, make sure you don't change it in any meaningful way, control your camera gear and capture it.
Street photography is something I admire. It is genuine. It is a candid, unscripted, unrehearsed moment. To create the images the photographer has to doing something I fear.
The handful of street photos I have taken have been serendipitous. I was "at the scene" for another purpose, a fashion shoot or capturing cityscapes; I saw an opportunity and had the courage to take the shot.
One of my first street photographs is also a personal favorite. I took the photograph several years ago on the streets of Cluj, Romania. While walking around the city photographing architecture, I came upon a highly reflective building. The sun was at just the right angle to light up its entire surface, and it was bouncing soft light out into the street. Surrounded by tall buildings the light would not last long. I knew anything that came down the street would be covered with wonderful reflected light from the building. So instead of photographing the building, I leaned against it and waited for life to enter the scene.
As fate would have it, after a few moments a trolley car came down the center of the street and stopped as traffic crossed in front of it. I scanned down the line of trolley windows and a man seated near one caught my eye. His face and the silhouettes behind him told me a story and I briskly walked down the sidewalk to be straight across from him. I quickly raised my lens to capture the scene. Just as quickly, I put the camera down.
The camera and lens I had that day were large and I felt very conspicuous. I did not want to be "caught". I was afraid someone would see me and yell to the man, "Hey, someone just took your photo!" The man might come out of the trolley car and protest, I might ruin his day. Silly but true.
The man never noticed me and the next moment the trolley pulled away.
It was one moment, one shot. It said something to me. I look at the photo occasionally and wonder how the man is doing. Are there any smiles on that face? Did those three people see each other often on the trolley and sit together in lonely solitude?
I have always been proud of that photo. It was genuine and for a moment I had overcome my fear.