Since I arrived early to the checkpoint at the Berlinische Galerie, and was one of the first to receive the next (and last) set of prompts, I could afford to sit for awhile in the corner and eat my protein bar while considering my next moves. I took a look through my shots for the first 16 prompts (see Part 1 and Part 2), and thought about how I could continue in the same overall direction.
Photo 17: Feierabend / to call it a day. It just so happened that there was a leftist festival happening at the Kulturbrauerei, with music and speeches and food. Maybe because it was getting later in the evening (around 8pm or so) and the weather was less than ideal, many of the booths were empty, including this one offering beer and mojitos. Even bartenders need to call it a day, I guess. :)
Photo 18: zusammen / together. How perfect to photograph a group of people coming together under the banner of collectivism and socialism. I especially loved it when someone on stage started singing an old GDR song about the worker, which many in the audience knew and sang along with, ending with the cry of “Freundschaft!“. Mix this in with a bunch of Polish fans waiting for the public viewing of the Poland vs. Czech Republic Euro Cup game to begin. Perfect.
Photo 19: chillen / chilling. From the Kulturbrauerei, I made my way on foot to the Mauerpark. This may or may not have been a brilliant idea. My feet and legs were starting to get pretty sore at this point, but I kept trudging along and I don’t have anything to say about this picture.
Photo 20: erfrischend / refreshing. I really wanted to photograph a body of water, but there was none to be found in the immediate area (that I could find) and time was running short. Basically, this shot is one of desperation and doesn’t have anything to do with the prompt.
Photo 21: Naturschönheit / natural beauty. Speaks for itself, doesn’t it?
Photo 22: leidenschaftlich / passionate. I had hoped to photograph a band playing in the park, but they unfortunately finished up just as I had moved on to this prompt. Dang! Instead, I took inspiration from the current Euro Cup and photographed this gigantic mural on a building across from the park.
Photo 23: kirschrot / cherry red. Again, how to do this in black and white? Find something that is so associated with the color red that there’s no question what color it is, even in black and white. Cherries seemed too obvious. Although a close-up of red lips would have been awesome (in hindsight), I instead went for an iconic symbol of East Berlin — the Ampelmänner — which are immediately identifiable to any Berliner. A closer shot would have been better, but given that I was using a tripod and would have to stand in the middle of the street against the light, I made do with this shot from a distance.
Photo 24: Der letzte Tanz / the last dance. My legs were really aching by this point (with 11 hours of photography behind me), but I made my way on foot to the checkpoint. In the end, I took my last photo at the Pfefferberg Sommergarten itself, which somehow seemed to fit the prompt — the last dance of the Fotomarathon.
All in all, I must admit that the whole experience was significantly more satisfying this year. Much of that is surely due to simple experience and knowing what would be in store for me. I was prepared and had a well stocked backpack and a game plan for the day. Another factor improving this year’s Fotomarathon was my smart phone (which I did not have before). I made heavy use of Google Maps and GPS to find my way around on foot, as well as my Öffi apps to navigate Berlin’s S-Bahn, U-Bahn, and bus systems. This saved so much time and effort! I could concentrate a lot less on logistics and a lot more on my photos.
After taking a day or so to recover from the whole thing, now I’m enjoying peeking at the photos of other participants online (Snooker in Berlin, TQE, J Pae) and am looking forward to the exhibition of everyone’s photos in a few weeks. Seeing other interpretations of the same prompts inspires me to be a better photographer and look for those perfect moments and motifs.
With that deep thought, I’ll bring my series on the Berlin Fotomarathon to an end. Thanks for reading along and sharing your comments. If you’re curious, the exhibition of participants’ photos is open to the public — you should come by and check it out! It takes places on July 7th (12-10pm) and 8th (10am-6pm) near Hackescher Markt. See you there?