Remove the Fences!

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I don’t want to sound like a guerrilla person, but sometimes I’d just like to go to forbidden places and/or do shootings on other people’s private property. Don’t get me wrong, I would never try to invade someone’s privacy. But you can find lots of abandoned and lost places (which usually are private property) or public spaces that are not accessible with a camera. In a time when everyone can take a photo with his or her smartphone camera and no one seems to care, a photographer’s DSLR seems to be seen as a weapon, a danger that has to be removed immediately. But why?

I understand that nature must be protected and I would accept this as a cause when I’m not allowed to step on some sensitive moss in Iceland (just an example). Absolutely no problem.

I also understand that it could be dangerous for people entering an old building where the roof is ramshackle. But on the other hand, you could get run over with a car every minute too. However, in Germany there are signs everywhere to protect the owner of a place from getting legal problems when someone gets hurt. Why not hang such a sign in front of a rotten house too so that artists can live and work at their own risk?

What I absolutely don’t understand is why it’s not allowed to take photos with a professional camera in a public place. Have we arrived in a world again where everyone could be a spy and taking photos means giving secret information to the enemy? Hopefully not, and if so, why the hell would a smartphone picture be okay then?

Let me give you some ridiculous anecdotes. When I shot my editorial „Abbruch“, the original idea was a totally different one. I had planned something like a (sub-)urban safari through Berlin’s undergrounds. I’d spent a whole lot of time planning the exact order of stations and where and when to change the lines. I even brought a big blanket for the model to change without being seen in underwear or rather for the people to not get confused. But at the first station, an announcement already came through the speakers, which no one of the team could understand (it was too much murmur). So we got into the next train and tried the next station on the plan. No one came to us in person, but again a voice told us to leave. We really had problems understanding the murmur, but after a while, the voice got louder and we could hear that they would call the police. So we broke up the whole thing and moved to the other place, which I had luckily planned for a plan B.

Fun fact: At that time the slogan of Berlin’s subway was: I don’t care. In the TV spot, there were people bringing and doing crazy stuff in the undergrounds, but the train guard kept singing that he didn’t care, as long as everyone paid for a ticket. We all had a ticket on that shooting day…

Fun Fact two: the plan B location was a former industry hall without walls and there WERE fences. But those fences where sparely positioned. It was like an invitation to enter the site. Very lucky for us.

Fashion Shooting with Heidi Rondak and Pascal Ehring from Kult Models

One making of, but no photo results – the missed shooting at the undergrounds

Model Pascal Ehring gets dressed at a Fashion Shooting with Heidi Rondak

Making of and extract of editorial „Abbruch“ in a construction area

Before I moved to Berlin I had already searched for lost places online and I had found a beautiful location near the city called „Beelitz Heilstätte“. It’s a former sanatorium, old architecture, and some left-overs from the time when medical treatments took place there. I always dreamed of going there and exploring it and I urged my boyfriend to come with me at one weekend. He is the best in doing researches and so he couldn’t help but find out that they had closed the place a while ago and entering would be indictable. However, there are some good options: tourists can do a guided tour, and photographers can even book 7-hour permissions to have a shooting there. Some houses are accessible with guides only, some are closed completely and secured with alarm systems, some have fences around them, but some are completely unsecured and you can enter easily. And so we did last weekend as well as doing the photo rally in two buildings (which means that we had a certain time to explore and take pictures by ourselves). It was amazing! The feeling of walking in and between those buildings that are getting occupied by nature again is spectral. Places like that are giving me so much! And it makes me so said when I’m not able to capture that feeling. I told you in the post before that I get inspired by locations and my head starts spinning with ideas places. At least there really ARE solutions to the problem, like there are in Beelitz. It makes me happy to see that places don’t just get hidden from people, waiting to get torn down.

Beelitz Heilstätte – Can you feel it?

One day I’ll go to other countries and find more such places. It’s going to be countries where the law isn’t as strict and people are not so anxious. In fact, I’m lucky to be living in a safe country, where people care for the safety of others. But I can’t stop thinking about how restricted we all are, especially as artists. But hey non-artists: Don’t you feel a little locked up too sometimes?

Epilogue

If you enjoyed reading this article, or you found it helpful in one way or the other, I would love to know (reach out)! You are also welcome to support my work and writing by donating whichever amount this is worth to you. I will thank you with lots of telepathic love and more interesting journal entries. Cheers!


 

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