We’ve had so many wonderful series of portraits of Berliners here on iHeartBerlin over our past 15 years: Naked Berliners, Creative Berliners at Home, Berliners in U8s, Berliners Through Their Windows During Quarantine, Couples from Berlin… And there are only a few that came to mind.
Today we want to introduce you to a brand new series of portraits called “Eisenacher Hundert”, and this time the concept gives us the double whammy. Not only are all the people depicted in this series residents of the same street, but they also represent all different ages between 1 and 100 years old. So this is perhaps the most cross-generational series we’ve presented so far.
The street in question is one of the most charming and beautiful in Berlin: Eisenacher Straße in Schöneberg. The people of this street couldn’t be more diverse, and of course not just because of their age, it unites old Berliners and new Berliners and people from all walks of life. Of course, photographer John Kolya Reichart lives in Eisenacher Straße himself, and doing the series allowed him to really get to know his neighborhood and his neighbors.
You can view this fantastic portrait series in its entirety as an exhibition at the TAMSCHICK MEDIA+SPACE LAB on Eisenacher Straße 57 from today until July 29, 2022. Opening is today at 5 p.m. Each portrait is also accompanied by a short story of the person, giving a small insight into the life of the inhabitants of Eisenacher Straße. Some of them are really moving, even if they are only brief comments. Below we have a small preview of the series for you, we hope they will make you curious to find out more…
Fjodor, 10 years old, student
“I like to read scary comics, I love driving around Berlin singing loudly in the car and doing a lot of sports with my friends. And I go to school, of course, which is actually my main activity. I’m not a quiet guy. I’m sorry to say that. But in this photo, I think I look very calm. And more calm than wild.
Loulou, 17, student
“I’m going to twelfth grade. It’s not so much fun now, but I absolutely want to pass my Abitur. And I certainly will. Lately, I have wanted to go to the countryside. We have such a cute little house there and we are there often on weekends. And it’s always nice because you’re often out in nature and clearing your head.
Samuel, 21 years old, Photographer & Retoucher
“Growing up with Germans in my hometown, I was not the foreigner, but I was different. And I knew it. And I always thought: yes, of course, you have to integrate. It you have to look like a German. You have to behave like one. And then when I moved
in Hamburg I realized for the first time, thanks to friends and across the city, that I didn’t have to! I don’t have to adapt at all. I am perfect as I am. And that’s where I had my first real points of contact with my African side. Then I started doing braids in between, bought crazier clothes, met friends who just partied. I thought that was great and I thought: why should I choose and conform? I can just have ten different personalities and ten different looks. Whether it’s long hair, afro, curly hair, whether I’m casual with a suit or a skirt, it doesn’t matter… I do what I want that day and then I like it too!
Flavio, 31, sex worker
I see him on a Saturday morning. He’s sitting alone on a small wall in Rainbow Square, looking somehow elated. But something about him fascinates me. I take my courage, approach him and ask him what his name is. “Flavio,” he replies, his eyes wide with sleep. I tell him about my project and ask him if I can take a picture of it. Flavio thought for a moment and said in a calm voice: “Not like that. He says he wants to lie down for a few hours first, freshen up and change. “Okay,” I said, “and when do we meet again?” We agree at 3 p.m. Flavio packs up his things, gets on his bike and leaves… At 3 p.m., I stay there and wait. But there is no sign of Flavio. It’s only now that I realize I don’t have his number. Hours pass, but Flavio does not appear. Again and again I want to leave, but something is holding me back. And finally, I see him, rolling towards me on his bicycle: He’s wearing a hat, a dazzling blond wig underneath, and he looks even prettier than he did in the morning.
Text: John Kolja Reichart
Thomas, 37, business development project manager
“Who do I see over there? Someone who finds his way between the two worlds of Gasometer and Saint-Gall. That’s where I come from, across Lake Constance. Berlin is not such a big leap in terms of Switzerland – Germany, but rather in terms of small city – giant city. And that’s exactly what I wanted, that big city flair with all the possibilities: Theatres, cinemas, restaurants, bars. And yet you also have your retirement here in the neighborhood. I think it’s a very good mix in Berlin. But I miss the mountains. There really aren’t any here. And every time I come back to Switzerland, the first thing I do is take a trip to nature to satisfy this desire.
Carolin, 47, owner of a hair salon
“This contact with different people, so young, old, people from everywhere, that’s what I really like about my job. And that suits me as well, I would say because I’m very positive and funny. But in the photo, I have sad eyes. And yes, I am sad too, of course. Sad because of the death of my father. This has already depressed me a lot. But no one else can bring me down. And I will never go through my life with my head down!
Lars, 48 years old, Masseur
“At school we had a music teacher who said, ‘Lars, you can’t sing. When the class is singing, you better shut up. Programming, of course: you can’t sing. I don’t know, maybe I can. I may be a born opera singer. I do not know. But that could be the case with everything else! I realized you were hiding from your own greatness. For years I thought: you can’t deal with people. You can’t do that to people. Yes, and today I am doing the exact opposite. I’m closer to people than almost anyone else. Even a doctor is not as close to people as I am as a masseur. And I can do it well. People like that. They like my presence and they like to be treated by me. It was a big step for me. If someone had told me that ten years ago, I would have said, “Are you crazy? Certainly not.”
Getrud, 95, Saleswoman in a department store (retired)
“I miss my apartment on Eisenacher Straße so much. I’ve lived here since 1965. And now I’m here with my daughter, because I fell home alone, and I’m lying in bed and reading. I read and I read. Oh yes, if only I could go home once! But my daughter says if I go home once, I’ll never come back. I worked in Karstadt for 17 years. I was always hardworking and always fast. I also raised the children and did the housework. But above all, I had two handsome men: the father of my daughter for 30 years. And my second husband of 17 years. But both died. Sometimes I think I wish I was in heaven or in Eisenacher. What is better? But I’m not going to heaven yet, I’m still staying here. And I’m still fighting.
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