Why I don’t have pictures from when the Wall came down

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Photoschule

It was Marlies who taught me that taking pictures secretly was immoral. According to Marlies, being a photographer required discipline: holiday shots were ridiculed, each frame requiring tension and a constant reflection on morality.

It was the second half of the Eighties, I lived in West Berlin and belonged to a circle of militant photographers who deemed even the Düsseldorfer Photoschule as too mainstream.

Marlies Martins was my teacher, friend and mentor. We only took black and white pictures, while Marlies created haunting landscapes photographing minuscule figurines from close up against organic materials.

We met once a week in a Volkshochschule in Kreutzberg, outside school hours, sharing our best shots and discussing whether giving a title to a picture forced an interpretation on the viewer, and was therefore fascist.

I had two cameras: a Nikon F305 and a Minox. Marlies had recommended the Minox. It had been incredibly expensive…

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