Grüß Gott! Under this motto Florian, founder of the famous Berlin blog ‘pieces of berlin’, felt drawn back to his homeland, Upper Austria. He started the series “Grüß Gott – a fairy tale” and was accompanied by our wonderful Lomo Lubitel 166+.
Your blog ‘pieces of berlin’ gets more and more famous from day to day. What’s new in Berlin? New projects? The last time we talked you were in Senegal.
Yes, I’m happy, more and more people trace the project and show interest in Berlin’s faces and stories that pieces of berlin presents. At the moment I’m visiting the ‘Ringbahn’ in Berlin and take a picture of one person at each station — one trip around Berlin and the people you meet.
Otherwise I will go on with my main projects in Berlin but I will make an excursion to Amsterdam too. And a special about social extrusion.
For a while you’ve been touring with the Lomo Lubitel 166+. What have you experienced with this Russian gem?
Testing out a new camera inspired me to start a new photo story and leaving my usual equipment aside.
A new companion for a new project, that was nice.
How do you like the camera and shooting with it?
Generally I’ve made good experiences with it and I was pretty surprised by the sharpness it can produce. I enjoyed working with a focal length of 75mm compared to the usual 80’s look. The slight vignetting as stylistic device matched the project quite well and I also liked that you can shoot with the Lubitel without tripod and handle it quite well on site.
What should we take care of while using the Lubitel? Do you have some tips for our community?
You should keep an eye on the camera back because it opens easily and when focusing do not trust the ground glass, but instead estimate the distance and set the focus with the focus wheel and scale.
How did you come up with the idea of “Grüß Gott – a fairy tale”?
Originally I come from a quite small village in Upper Austria. After doing my A-levels I left the village but I return about 3-4 times each year to visit my lovely family. Not having been there for a while, my childhood memories in this place start to fade and my memories for the traditions there. In comparison, my daily life Berlin is completely different. This area becomes a very distant place for me, even surreal. But in this work I want to focus on constants and change and how the consumer becomes observer and its own story teller or creates his own individual subjective story or fairy tale.
Who do we see in these photos and where did you take them?
All the photos were shot in the village where I grew up. All the portrayed people are part of the cultural life in the village; they are taking part in a local bands, the ‘Goldhauben’, or are part of associations.
Where does your inspiration for your work derive from? Are there any photographers that inspire you?
On the one hand there’s this inner urge to tell stories and on the other hand I am also inspired by photographers. I like Stephen Shore’s and Joel Sternfeld’s work — time chronicler, showing the beautiful of the banality of our daily life. Or the dreamy, emotional images of Stefanie Schneider, Richard Avedon’s portraits and Alec Soth’s stories.
What makes Berlin so special for you and where do you want to be in 5 years?
For me Berlin is an unique conglomerate of 1,000 villages creating a metropolis. Every neighbourhood has its own atmosphere, characteristics, demography and due to that you can discover the city forever. It also does continually change and develop. Unfortunately it also develops in less positive ways. Berlin used to be a place everybody could travel to, to take a shot at testing out his own personality without having to cover immense expenses — currently this isn’t really possible anymore. A smugness has come up and evolves and replaces everything I see as pretty, imperfect, improvised and lively.
Anyway I will probably stay in my town for the next 5 years and hit the streets with my camera.
Learn more about pieces of berlin and get to know Berlin and its inhabitants in an analogue way. Become a fan Pieces of Berlin on facebook or follow Flo on twitter. You can find more of Florian’s work on flowkey.net.