A look back at Berlin
& the Eastern Sector


The Berlin Wall was the iconic representation of the divided city, and the divided country. I spent hours and hours walking and photographing along it. It was erected almost overnight in August of 1961, supposedly to protect East Germany from a NATO invasion. In reality, it was a drastic attempt to stem the ever increasing flow of East Germans who were trying to escape to the West.

The first time I came to Berlin there was already some graffiti on the Berlin Wall, but it was more vandalism than art. (The shot of the Brandenburg Gate with the Wall still mainly white was from the first or second time I shot in the city.)

By the mid-1980s, as the shot of the wall taken down no-man's land shows, artists were using its surface as a canvas, and increasingly elaborate art projects appeared all along it. Individual artists and art cooperatives staked out sections of the wall that wound its way through the center of town. For example, the shot of the hanging mannequin draped in the East German flag was part of a multi-piece art installation adjoining the Wall.

The murals on the west side of Berlin Wall were art pieces with a message. Like the "Peaceland" and "Charlie's Retired" murals, it was anti-communist social commentary advocating peace, freedom and reunification.  The east side of the wall faced no-man’s land, so there was no access to it. It remained white washed until the Wall fell.

    Click here to read the back ground for this story