one day at a time

day 76: down below: Deutsche Oper

down below: Deutsche Oper © Verena Fischer 2011

down below: Deutsche Oper © Verena Fischer 2011

Many subway stations in Berlin make interesting subjects for photography, especially when they’re empty. Maybe you’ll see more of these pictures from subway stations now (you can find another here), because I’ll be using the public transport more now that it’s too cold for taking the bike. Actually it’s only really too cold at night, but I don’t like cycling in cold weather. Cycling is for me something to do in summer.

This is the subway station Deutsche Oper. It’s one of the ugliest opera houses I’ve seen so far, certainly not worth a picture. Before I returned to the subway station I took a picture of a garage entrance which had a sufficiently interesting contrast between light and darkness. While I was taking the picture an old woman came out of the apartment building to which this garage probably belonged. She asked me what I was doing. I said “I’m taking pictures” – “Why? This is private property, there is an apartment building and a company here and you certainly have no right” – “I don’t see a fence and I don’t see a sign either.” – “There is nothing to take a picture of, you certainly have a hidden agenda!” – “Look, I take pictures, that’s what photographers do. I see something interesting, I take a picture, it’s as simple as that”. She didn’t understand, because her paranoia was blinding her. In the end the argument was futile and I ignored her and walked away.

I’m not sure about the legal situation in this case, but I bet if she had been the owner she would have had a case. It feels like Germany is filled with “No ball games on the grass” signs when it comes to photography. Street photography is basically illegal and it seems that people are paranoid when it comes to cameras even when you’re just taking a harmless picture of the entrance of a building. Where does this hostility come from? I don’t get it.


7 responses

  1. We share the same sentiments. Really very frustrating when you´re into street photography. I also had an encounter a few weeks ago , I was taking a picture of the water fountain of the RWE turm , when the security saw me & warned me that it was private property & I was not allowed to do that! I said , it was only the water fountain that I was interested in. Well, to make it short, I just apologized & left. 😦

    October 28, 2011 at 5:40 pm

  2. Yes people are very paranoid these days…I found that if I ask first, some (not all) folks do not have a problem with me taking photos.

    October 28, 2011 at 6:12 pm

  3. I am guessing this should be public property.private buildings photography is a grey area. In any case the issue really here is how to convince people who have made up their opinion of you as having sinister motives.One suggestion especially when photographing in dark and places where you could be doubted,is to carry your prints or if u have a previous published book (don’t know how practical that would be though). Somehow that helps and creates more legibility.

    Coming back to photo, it is very well exposed. I was going to guess that you bracketed and blended exposures (or HDR), but irrespective of how you did it, it has retained good details overall.

    October 28, 2011 at 6:59 pm

  4. Very interesting place.Many stations in our country are so old that some of them become cultural assets. 🙂

    October 28, 2011 at 7:49 pm

  5. Well hell, I sure like your tube photo! Thank you for sharing it with us. I will subscribe to your blog for sure. Have a wonderful day!

    October 28, 2011 at 7:51 pm

  6. Cycling in cold weather makes my eyes tear then I can’t see. Love the stark empty station!

    October 29, 2011 at 8:43 pm

  7. I wonder if the paranoia is part of the history of the country especially the more recent politics of the 50’s and 60’s. Probably too many negatives about people with(and without)cameras watching goings on during those times. Your subway area looks clean, well lighted, and free of litter.

    November 1, 2011 at 8:30 am

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