Snapshot: Berlin


Two visitors to the Berlin Wall Museum take in a close look at a former section of the Wall. Picture: Chris Mannolini

The two young visitors walked beside the concrete wall, taking a close look at the fading graffiti from an era before their time. Beyond were more modern and colourful buildings and the hum of traffic and the dinging of trams and bicycle bells. But on this side they looked incredulous as they tried to imagine living behind this relic.

The Berlin Wall Museum (Gedenkstätte Berliner Mauer) is an open-air museum containing about 1.4km of the wall and its death strip, signalling a former border between east and west and not far from the centre of the now reunified German city.

I had always wondered how Berlin’s underground train system had been divided and was lured here to see the display with photographs and information at the Nordbahnhoffe S-Bahn station. The display details the fortifications used by the east and the so-called ghost stations through which trains travelled but were not allowed to stop.

From here you can walk along Bernauer Strasse and see a section of the old wall and its death strip, and see and read more about life and death in the divided city.

This was the last day of my stay in Berlin and the weather was closing in. It was almost fitting that the dark clouds were forming and the light was getting greyer. As I tried to work out how I would photograph this piece of Berlin’s history I was drawn to this young couple and their splash of colourful clothing. Their interaction with the wall looked like an apt analogy of a population struggling to comprehend a foreign world.

This photograph was taken with my iPhone 6 mobile phone camera. I edited the photo with the Snapseed app, desaturating the colours, boosting the contrast and adding a vignette.

While I took several photographs of the Berlin Wall Museum with my DSLR camera on the day, this iPhone snap is my favourite picture from the museum and one of my favourites from Berlin.

You can see more of my photographs from my most recent trip to Berlin on my Flickr site here.

What do you think of my snap? Do you have experiences where a mobile phone snap proves better at conveying an experience than photos taken from a DSLR or “proper” camera? I would love to hear you thoughts.


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