Stargarder Straße

by jonnywhitlam

Empty streets of Berlin.

Photo number 9 in the Social Spaces exhibition is Stargarder Straße. It’s in the former East Berlin district of Prenzlauer Berg. A lot has happened to this district over the years. Originally a proletarian district, it was rather neglected by the East German government and as such became a hive of resistance for the Ossis.

Following reunification Prenzlauer Berg became one of the really exciting parts of newly-central Berlin, a lot of abandoned buildings and even more cheap rent made it the place to be in the new city. As time moved on Prenzlauer Berg changed, too. Because it was ‘cool’ it attracted a lot of money and it is now almost completely gentrified. I have to be honest and say it’s not exactly my favourite part of town, and I should know, I used to live there. It seems to me that there’s now a fairly clinical atmosphere to the whole thing. As if it’s cool for the sake of being cool. Similar to people that love a band just because you haven’t heard of. Pretentious in some ways, I guess. It’s also absolutely chock-full of babies. You can barely move for being run over by a pram. Now, I’ve got nothing against people having kids, I just don’t necessarily always want to be near them, in fact, kids are so many years off in my life it doesn’t really bear thinking about. So I guess it’s better to say Prenzlauer Berg simply isn’t for me. That’s not to say this part of town is a complete write off, it still has a lot going for it, especially Mauer Park Sundays.

I hope though, that with this photo I captured a piece of what Berlin is to me. Berlin is far and away the largest and most highly populated I’ve ever lived, so it seems like you see thousands of people every day you’ll never see again, which is hopefully represented by the shadowy figure of the woman at the top of the photo. Of course on the left we have Berlin’s ever-present construction. Which shows that even a part of town that feels a bit more like other European capitals for Berlin still has a long way to go on the real stage.

If you would like to visit the exhibition it is on at Speakeasy Sprachzeug language school, 116 Boxhagener Str. Berlin (Nearest U-Bahn is Frankfurter Tor.) from June 24 until August 24. If you would like to buy a print of this or any other photo please feel free to send me an email (see contact).