Invisible People. Berlin Nightworkers
Deep in the night, when the weary revellers sink exhausted into their beds and calm finally settles over the turbulent metropolis, many Berliners are still at work or already back at work. They have to stay awake to keep the city's complicated mechanism alive. Tracks have to be renewed, sewers under the autobahn checked. Paramedics take care of the injured, firefighters move out when danger threatens. Fresh bread for the new day also needs to be baked and the latest newspapers delivered.
Amélie Losier visited Berlin's night workers and observed them at work. In her photographs in classic black and white, portraits and scenes peel out of the omnipresent darkness, showing the nocturnal capital and its busy helpers.
Quand la Ville dort. Berliner Nightworkers
One night at 4 o'clock I longed for nothing more than my bed. The streets were dark, quiet, soft, and I suddenly heard a tapping noise behind me. I turned around and saw a woman unloading newspapers, and puzzled over how it must feel to do one's work in complete darkness in the nocturnal atmosphere of a city. I felt the desire to learn more about this woman.
Almost invisibly, night workers do their job in the silence of the night. They work as rescue workers, security guards, construction and sanitation workers, railroad employees.... 48% of the working population in Germany earn their living at night (source: "Leben und arbeiten in Deutschland", Statistic Federal Office).
These hardworking people are often not even noticed, their work remains mostly anonymous in the big city. What kind of people are they who, night after night, against the natural rhythm of their bodies, often perform heavy physical work? What work has to be done at night so that the city can continue to function?
In this reportage I would like to tell about the difficult or even bizarre conditions of the night workers and to shine a light on the people of the night. People who are often forgotten in the hustle and bustle of the day.
From the exhibition Opening speech by Barbara Klemm
In this exhibition, the theme is: Reportage on night workers. You have set yourself a difficult task. The night is dark. With a few exceptions, the light that we photographers need so much is missing. With the little light available, you tell us the stories of the night workers. That is the one difficulty you overcame. The second task, as with all reportage, was to get close to the workers, to find the right distance so that they accept you with your camera and at the same time forget your presence. You solved that well, too.
The pictures radiate a naturalness, tell us something about life and the world. You manage to use the available light correctly, to capture the space and to arrange the situations and things that are seen. This is the essence of good composition. So your photographs are also more than reportage photos.
Cartier-Bresson put it all, much better than I can, and so I want to read it to you:
"To photograph is to hold one's breath when all our senses are striving to capture fleeting reality. Then taking a picture gives a great feeling of physical and intellectual pleasure. To photograph is to recognize, without hesitation and in a fraction of a second, a fact and to organize rigorously the visually perceptible forms that reflect and communicate that fact. Mind, eye and heart must be aligned. Photography is a way of life".
As I experience you and see your photographs, you are an artist of this way of life.
Amélie Losier, Wenn die Stadt schläft
Preface by Britta Wauer, filmmaker
Hrsg. Mathias Bertram, Lehmstadt Verlag, Leipzig (2009)
72 pages, 60 photographs, 21cm x 21cm, Out of print, ISBN 978-3-937146-76-8
2023 Photoplatz c/o Hotel Bogota, Group Exhibition, Kommunale Galerie Wilmersdorf, European Month of Photography
2017 Die Nacht. Alles ausser Schlaf, Museum für Kommunikation, Berlin
2011 Wenn die Stadt schläft, Berliner Nachtarbeiter, Photoplatz Hotel Bogota, Berlin Nightworkers, Invisible, Planket Festival, Berlin, Stockholm, Sweden
2009 Wenn die Stadt schläft. Die Nachtarbeiter, Exhibition and book release, Supalife Galerie, Berlin
2008 Quand la ville dort. Die Nachtarbeiter, Academy of Fine Arts, Zedehnick
© Amélie Losier . 2023 . All rights reserved