For more than forty years photographer Nelly Rau-Häring traversed the streets of Berlin with her camera, capturing moments of life in both East and West sectors of the city.
Now you can see some of her most revealing images in a new book, Ost/West Berlin, published by Hatje Cantz, and released to mark the occasion of the thirtieth anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Through the photographer’s eyes, you’ll participate in the political protests of the late 1960s in West Berlin and observe the official ceremonies on May 1 and 8 in East Berlin. You’ll gain insight into the pleasurable pastimes of East and West, such as the horse races at the Hoppegarten, Karlshorst, and Mariendorf. You’ll see the constant transformation Berlin has undergone and how it ultimately culminates in the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
Rau-Häring points her lens at even this profound watershed with the same precise eye for the details of everyday human life. This allows her to produces images that reveal great symbolic force: East Germans standing in line waiting to receive West German “welcome money”, a new shop in Prenzlauer Berg with its nearly empty shelves, or a new auto showroom in the city centre. The social upheavals can best be seen in examples of private life.
Besides her documentary photographs, Rau-Häring also produces new, unusual images: “The photos have to have value beyond that. Create other narratives. When I take photographs, my eye goes to what does not yet exist,” she says about her decades-long career.
Ost/West Berlin: Nelly Rau-Häring is published by Hatje Cantz. An exhibition of the same title will also take place from 8 November 2019 until 19 January 2020 at 3 Freiraum für Fotografie, Berlin.
Kreuzberg am Engelbecken, June 1990 © Nelly Rau-Häring
Prenzlauer Berg 1985 © Nelly Rau-Häring
Bahnhof Zoo, 1967 © Nelly Rau-Häring
Nelly, 1966 © Nelly Rau-Häring