On any given day you will see some young blunt fringed type, wandering around the city with an old film camera taking photos of buildings and statues, of shoes and gardens, recording this moment of this time for them in Berlin. Those images will be precious in their future as are many images taken each day across the world – both on digital and film. However, photography does more than just capture memory. It documents, translates and transforms, turning the simplest of moments into mesmerising scenes and forever rendering the most celebrated and the most tortured moments impermeable to time and distance.
No matter what time of year you visit Berlin there will be a photography exhibition on somewhere – more than one in fact. Places like C/O Berlin and the Museum für Fotografie ensure photography has a permanent presence in the city, hosting some of the worlds greatest and most exciting new and renowned photographers. So here’s a snapshot of what’s on at the moment, as well as a couple of the meccas to the art form that you can catch year round. Say cheese!
This charitable foundation has been running since 2000 but moved to its current location at Amerikahaus – conveniently just around the corner from the hotel in 2014. Hosting professional and amateur artists as well as educational programs for young people and children, C/O Berlin has become the go to museum for photography lovers for its diverse programmes that range from historical documentation to nature and wildlife, visual media to photographic equipment exhibitions.
The current exhibition Watched! Surveillance, Art & Photography is timely in the current climate and features works from 20 artists, presenting a wide spectrum of option on the nature of photographic surveillance – from video to photos, google maps to algorithms. Vinyl overs can rejoice at the Total Records exhibition – closing in April, that features 500 classic and unreleased album covers. C/O Berlin is at Amerikahaus, Hardenbergstrasse 22 – 24, 10623 Berlin. Entry is €10 to the whole museum, including the special exhibitions.
Museum für Fotografie
In case the surveillance exhibition at Amerikahaus was not enough for you, head just behind Zoologischer Garden station and you will find another. Watching You, Watching Me. A Photographic Response to Surveillance opened just last week and explores similar questions around rights to privacy, both visual and data collection as well as the monitoring of our activity. In Berlin tihs topic is always a conversation starter and divider. Opening today is Alice Springs: The MEP Show + Helmut Newton: Yellow Press, featuring works by Helmut Newton’s wife, who worked under the pseudonym of Alice Springs. While at the museum, of course do not miss Helmut Newton’s Private Property which has been on permanent display since 2004 and includes photographs, candid polaroids, cameras, personal items and an overview of his life and work. The Museum für Fotografie is at Jebensstrasse 2, 10623 Berlin. Entry is €10 to the whole museum, additional for the special exhibitions.
Martin Gropius Bau
No trip to Paris is devoid of at least one of Robert Doisneau’s images catching your eye. His iconic ‘The Kiss by the Hôtel de Ville’ is as recognised as any image of the French city. After its appearance on the cover of LIFE magazine, it in fact was the image that launched his career. A career that would span more than 4 decades and produce around 350,000 photographs. The current exhibition at Martin Gropius Bau, Robert Doisneau – Photographs From Craft to Art opened in December and is now in its closing days – Sunday 5th March is your last chance to see it! The exhibition features about 100 of his most well known or well regarded photojournalistic works, many featuring simple street scenes of the eternal city in the 1950s and 60s. Martin Gropius Bau is at Niederkirchnerstraße 7, 10963 Berlin. Entry to the exhibition is €7.