Before, Berlin was a major hub of urban liveliness. The city life and culture are usually so enriching and unmissable. Lomographer Olive Grimm, a.k.a. oli_grimm_photo a documented series of photographs of the usually lively city during the lockdown.
One thing Oliver specified is Berlin's unique clubbing culture that even big cities such as New York don't have anymore, having been to the Big Apple himself. There's cultural exchange among theaters, poetry reading sessions, street food, and the like. Oliver mentioned that despite Germany's reputation to be "stiff", Berlin is one of the coolest and most inclusive cities in the world, being very welcoming to foreigners. Now, these all seem gone as most establishments are temporarily closed. Being so accustomed to the city's liveliness, Oliver can't help but miss several experiences he had with the city.
"All those people from far and near on one place in that city with so much history good and bad. The small talks with tourists, the deeper talks with friends, that grumbling and ranting from the Berliners on the streets."
This special series of Oliver has some somber mood to them and it's intentional. He specifically used black-and-white as using colors feel wrong for him right now. Here, he uses more negative spaces and empty places for his composition, resonating his feelings for the situation.
Thankfully, most people are following protocol and have gotten accustomed to social distancing. The Kontaktverbot (prohibition of contact) is what's being practiced by most Berliners -- only allowed to meet one person at a time in the open that isn't a family member. According to Oliver, despite not having an official stay-at-home order implemented, most streets are empty.
"That city with a fast heartbeat is now in a coma... The whirling social life which Berlin is famous for is flat dead. It’s some kind of depressing."
When we got Oliver's interview, he has mentioned that as of April 20, some bans have been lifted and smaller shops under 800 sqm have re-opened.
Having been so accustomed to Berlin being a social hub, he can't help but lament how human-free the city is. Every street he's familiar with feels estranging because of the lack of people being there. However, there is light in every darkness -- he's found a new feeling of appreciation with some of Berlin's iconic landmarks.
"On the other hand, there are some things I felt for the first time, the grandness of the river Spree without the tourist boats and beaches boasting with people. The main attractions as the Reichstag, the Brandenburger Tor, etc. feeling abandoned."
In spite of everything going on, Oliver is certain for one thing: he will continue to carry his cameras with him and take pictures, just as he always had for years.
What are your special visual stories during the pandemic? Let us know by commenting below!