+++ June 2015 +++
It was a Grey Day
Photographs of Berlin by Gerry Badger
This book I hold near and clear. I moved to Berlin in 1981, to the western part of the city, the wall was still there. In respect of urban planning West Berlin was decades behind the already rehabilitated Western German cities. Wastelands, windowless firewalls, crumbling plaster and sooty facades characterized the atmosphere. In East-Berlin even more than in the West. But Berlin was a magnet for artists, do-gooders and utopians who came from everywhere. Together with the many uncultivated spaces they made Berlin one of the most unusual places in the world.
Since the fall of the Wall in 1989 much has changed. It took time, but now redevelopement, new constructions, closure of gaps between buildings and new utilization concepts for the border strip give the capital a new face.
And then Gerry Badger appears and photographs in ›one of his favorite cities‹ - and is baffled by the images that he has made, as they look so downbeat compared to his conscious idea of the city with all the depressing-looking grey in grey, the disorder, the rank growth.
But he provides the answer himself, when he says:
›I am fascinated by the terrain vague of the urban scene – wastelands, the funny little spaces that become impromptu gardens or parks, or are acted upon in some other way. Most people find them scruffy. I find them magical. I have an unerring instinct for finding the scruffier areas of cities – I know I’ll find my pictures there. But my intention is to depict them as anything but scruffy. I see them as beautiful.‹
How beautiful, that will be remembered only when they are gone forever. Along with Gerry Badger I hope it does not come so far.