Many young people are drawn to the city of Berlin because of its exuberant offerings, its overwhelming number of events every day, its chaotic feel, spontaneous clubs and abundance of open spaces as well as affordable rents that have nurtured a rich experimental art scene.
The city’s population of 3.5 million inhabitants barely matches the about four million people who visit every year. Many of those visitors come to stay. During the last two decades the cityscape has changed dramatically. Some districts are almost newly populated.
In many neighborhoods immigrants are shaping the cityscape. You can hear a variety of languages in the streets, English or Spanish are in demand for the day-to-day life. Somehow it is hard to meet individuals who actually grew up in Berlin. So where do the newcomers come from? What is their story?
This photo series introduces foreigners who came to live in Berlin. The portraits reveal various characters while the quotes give a deeper understanding of who they are and where they come from. This work does not aim to picture the width of Berlin’s population but rather portrays artists and bodyworkers who incorporate some kind of Bohemian spirit.
»Ich habe meinen eigenen Rhythmus. Ich verbringe viel Zeit damit Musik zu hören, neue LPs zu sammeln und zu entdecken. Und ich bin gerne unabhängig – manchmal ohne Handy, immer ohne Facebook. Eines Tages werd ich mein eigenes kleines Café eröffnen. Dazu brauche ich keinen Architekten oder Designer, wie ich meine eigene Atmosphäre kreiere. Und ich weiß wie man guten Kaffee macht.«
»Wenn ich arbeite, insbesondere auf der Bühne, dann bin ich glücklich. Ich vermisse nichts, und ich habe alles was das Leben zu bieten hat. Dann gibt es Phasen wo ich keine Arbeit finde, die sind hart, ich fühle wie tough das Business ist. Leider ist die Konkurrenz sehr groß, besonders in einer Stadt wie Berlin, hier gibt es so viele tolle Tänzer.«
»I love Berlin for it’s creative abundance and constant flow of collaboration of artists here, it’s an extremely inspiring place for me. It doesn’t feel like when I finish work that it’s over, when I socialize it will be now going to sex clubs and learning about tantra oppose to just go to work, it’s quite a lifestyle which is nice. It turns out it’s difficult to have relationships, I don’t have monogamous relationships anymore. Which is quite nice. It’s a good change in my life.This work in the erotic business and in art in Berlin, I feel, it’s like a transition period in my life, like other phases I’ve had in the past. I’m looking forward to do social work and keeping these skills I’ve learned. I’ve had the poor and sexy experience.«
»I’m a philosopher, I love my family and friends are family too. I love art, music, painting and dancing. I like to make art through movement. And I try to make my life an art work.«
»I was coming back and forth to Berlin because the first three years were stable but then I travelled for six months in winter and I also went to Italy. I wanted to become a dancer but starting ballet in the age of 29 did not work. So I was living as a fire performer and masseur. I love dancing but now I do computer engineering to survive.«
»I am of the spirit of Australian’s nature and playfullness, my blood and passion for food and expression is fueled by my pure Italian blood, my nature feels curious, reflective, provocative, dancing, musical, poetic, healing, present, simple, clear, serving, caring, direct, often impatient yet full of faith and optimism. Character is forever shape-shifting and evolving, character is rather transient for me and can be seen as volatile and cyclical as the weather itself. I was more or less always leaving Australia, my original dream was to live in a creative community in Goa in India, when I moved with my German partner to Hoyerswerda in 2009, a dear German friend moved to the same time from West Germany to Berlin, so I would visit her each month, and began to fall very much in love with Berlin as it seemed to offer all the benefits of this community in Goa but in a more grounded, real life environment. Berlin matches my love and need of being in a place with numerous sub-cultures, many cultures in people and food, my love of music, dance and healing and personal and creative development in a place where I do not need a car, or need to work myself to death to live a fullfilled and abundant life. I am grateful every day and even have the blessing and strength of not needing the sun for my joy and power!«
»I think I like it here mostly because I can always get surprised. That has a certain value for me. It is unpredictable what happens to me here. I’m always surprised what kind of unbelievable chance encounters come about.«
»All my life, my mother told me this one Polish saying whenever something unpleasant happened: ‘Nie ma tego złego co by na dobre nie wyszło’. It means: There is no such bad thing that won’t turn into something good eventually. To me this bears a simple truth: everything is just a matter of perspective. With time comes distance and with distance it gets easier to see the same thing from yet another angle. This saying might be an affirmation for the blindly optimistic, but when I look back at my life, I can’t find anything bad that happened to me. I guess that’s quite a positive forecast for what’s left to come.«
»I live below the poverty line, there are alot of friends who help me. But it saddens me because I think I have a lot to offer. Here in Berlin is so much going on, it’s tricky to get a spot light. I do contact improvisation, water dance, water therapy or theater improvisation among others. I’m motivated by interesting connections with others, all ages and all abilities or disabilities. Part of my research is how different types of people make choices and how they move.«
»Wir erforschen mit Hingabe was es heißt, sich gegenseitig im persönlichen Wachstum und der Entwicklung zu stärken und wahrhaftig zu unterstützen. In unseren Workshops geben wir anderen Menschen Werkzeuge in die Hand, damit sie selbst wachsen können. Kreativ, spielerisch und erdend. Das Herz ist immer schlauer als der Kopf und weiß: Die wahre Antwort liegt in deinem Körper.«
»I love flow, freedom and spontaneity. I am a person with strong extremes. Vulnerable and strong at the same time. For a long time I was already feeling rootless in Finland. The last years, I was travelling and teaching dance at festivals, and I returned to Helsinki just for quite short periods of time. So I was looking for a place to feel home again. A place where I feel that I can build something up again. And of course, there was also a man involved in the story… Well, the creativity and art-scene in Berlin is incredible!«