Images of Freedom
"Do you live and love freedom as much as Berlin does?" We asked this question in May to Berlin fans around the world, asking them to respond with a photo. 29,000 people took part in the photo challenge by the start of August and submitted photos of their very personal moments of freedom to #FREIHEITBERLIN on Instagram and EyeEm. We then selected the eleven most beautiful and creative responses and they've been on view on posters all over Berlin since the beginning of November.
Giulia from Trieste and Felix from Berlin also won a weekend of freedom in the capital. Matthias Zierau will drive them across the city in his classic taxi on November 3 and 4, with unique moments of freedom in Berlin guaranteed. Congratulations to the finalists and the winners!
We've asked Giulia and Felix to introduce themselves briefly:
Profession: administrative – sales office employee
Place of residence: Trieste, Italy
Star sign: Virgo
Your favorite color: Black
Your favorite animal: Cat
Your favorite song: I don't have any favorite song. Each period and state of mind has a different favorite song.
1. Can you tell us more about your winning picture? Why and how did it originate?
On June 2018 it was my first time in Berlin. As a traditional destination when visiting the city, my boyfriend and I decided to visit the East Side Gallery. We already knew the strength of some of the murals painted on it, but we found that also some lesser known ones just as impressive in their message of freedom. When we arrived near at “The Kiss” by Dmitri Wrubel, a crowd of people was gathering around the painting, all taking pictures of it or near it. While waiting, I observed that many were more interested in the act of taking a picture and appearing near such a famous icon than observing it. I love taking pictures, but I generally try to give a personal vision of what I shoot. The kiss between Honecker and Brezhnev is a provocative image for many aspects. I thought I could try to give an ideal answer to this provocation: helped by my mate, Giacomo, we partially rethought the original photograph which inspired the painting by adding a series of contrasts. The figure of a woman replaced that of a man, the woman is young while the man is old, the colors of the paint went back to the black and white of the original pic, while the eyes, even if partially hidden by sunglasses, seem to look beyond “this mortal love.” A glance that starts from an image of the past to have a dreamy look at the present and, perhaps, at the future.
2. How would you define freedom?
For me freedom is a difficult concept to be defined. I think we cannot consider freedom as the lack of any kind of limit, but, at the same time, strict boundaries are clearly as far as possible from it. Freedom for me means being able to make choices conscientiously, in all aspects of life; it means having critical and educational instruments to judge what may be better for us, as a society and as a single person. The concept of freedom is deeply linked to that of respect: to freely make choices one must respect others, their freedom, society and, last but not least, respect one's own identity, dreams, and personality.
3. What did you like most in Berlin?
I found Berlin a sparkling city. It is modern, young, and dynamic. A mosaic of styles, cultures, and ideas that create an always changing, but well-defined identity. This is what I most liked about Berlin.
4. Imagine: anything is possible! What would you like to do in Berlin?
I would like to fly over the city and observe it from the sky like a scientist observing humanity from a microscope. On the other hand, I would like to live in Berlin for a while to understand what daily life is like here. As a tourist it gave me an impression, would it change or remain the same if I actually lived here?
5. Any suggestions for visitors on what to do or see in Berlin?
When visiting a new, big city, everyone wants to see the most iconic symbols of that city. What I would suggest to a tourist in Berlin is spending some time just wandering around the different quarters of the city. Every quarter offers a variety of activities and interesting spots, not only the most famous. This might be an occasion to taste real, everyday life in Berlin, too. What about relaxing in a small coffee shop or bakery, reading a newspaper or a book, and then shopping in design shops or spending some time in the gallery of a local artist? Just relax and enjoy the real Berlin!
Profession: Ad Operator and Photographer
Star sign: Sagittarius
Favorite color: Green
Favorite animal: Squirrel
Favorite song: "A New Error" by Moderat
1. Can you tell us something about your winning photo? How and why was it created?
It was a lukewarm summer evening, the sun had left the horizon, and the paddlers were setting off right in front of me. That was a really magical moment and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Then someone shouted: "No photos allowed!" But I didn't let that stop me from capturing that perfect Berlin summer moment. Afterwards, they weren't happy, so I got out of there. On the way back, I passed dozens of people who had just taken a selfie with the same skyline.
2. What does freedom mean for you?
For me, freedom means mobility. Being able to get around almost every part of the city without a car is truly valuable. It's convenient and fast to move from east to west, from north to south by bus, train, or bicycle. More freedom is not possible.
3. What do you like most about Berlin?
The way our transport systems have evolved over time and the many green oases we still have in the city. The many nationalities that live here and who come to visit us weekly. But even those old-timers in the neighborhoods have their own very special charm.
4. Imagine anything is possible: What would you like to do in Berlin?
Finally rebuild the tram in West Berlin. Especially at Potsdamer Platz, Hermannplatz, and Zoo.
5. Your tip for visitors to Berlin?
Take Tram 12 from Mitte to Weißensee. It couldn't be more authentic! And Oberschöneweide is my cultural insider tip.
Photo: Marvin Girbig