"It feels like there is so much space in the city... the streets are wider, the apartments are bigger and there are a lot of nice parks. I like the creative energy of the city..."
A snapshot into the city of Berlin; what makes it so great? Why is the city raved about by so many? Musician, Bearcubs a.k.a. Jack Ritchie, speaks to us of the wonder of this free-and-easy city, which he now calls home, and takes us on a photographic journey through its streets.
What is your overall feeling of Berlin?
My feeling of Berlin is that it’s a very free, creative place. There’s lots of history and the people here have made the city into a place where you can express yourself freely. It feels like there are less regulations here compared to other cities, so people are trusted to do what they like to a certain degree.
Why did you come to Berlin and what have you taken away from it?
I moved here to change things up really. I had been living in London for years previously so I thought it was time to get myself out of my comfort zone and experience new things. It’s definitely helped my creativity and music making over the past year and a half. I’ve met a lot of inspiring people here and made some good friends along the way too.
In your opinion, what are the best things about the city?
It’s a number of things really, I’m not much of a clubber but I like how the city is 24/7. Bars in Berlin have their distinct style and are open late, as are the döner shops and spätis. It feels like there is so much more space in the city than London for example, the streets are wider, the apartments are bigger and there are a lot of nice parks. I like the creative energy of the city alongside all the art galleries, openings, interesting events etc that are always going on.
Your favourite spots/areas in the city? Why?
I’ve hung out in Kreuzberg and Neukölln a lot over the past few years, but now my favourite areas are the lesser-known areas, like Moabit and Tempelhof, which are less trendy but have some really nice bars, restaurants and old buildings. There are also some little smoky bars in Mitte near where I live, that seem like they have been there for the past hundred years. I also like Tiergarten and Tempelhofer Feld for some open spaces and greenery.
"For some reason, I have a fascination with the tower block flats that can be found everywhere in Berlin. They are sometimes quite ugly, but what makes them stand out to me is the bright colours they often have which are painted on the walls or balconies. Here, the teal colour of the stairway windows and doors caught my eye."
"I saw this car when walking around a suburban part of town in summer time. I notice a lot of nice old cars driving around Berlin, especially old cream Mercs with leather seats."
"This was an interesting window display in Prenzlauerberg. I imagined it was probably an original Berliner who has lived there for years and years. It’s nice to see how people express themselves through little trinkets, flags and plants etc in their windows and balconies, you get a little insight into everyone’s worlds. Also note the ubiquitous graffiti that is covering the walls, as with all other buildings in Berlin."
"One thing that I feel Berlin isn’t short of is interesting historical places, there’s a lot of mystery to me in the abandoned buildings and wastelands created from the separation of East and West Germany. This is a photograph of the Teufelsberg, an abandoned listening post from the Cold War, now it serves as a tourist attraction."
"Another style that I like, despite its ugliness, is the Brutalist architecture found in the city, which involves a lot of concrete and blocky shapes. The first photograph is the Institute of Hygiene and Environmental Medicine and the second is the Institute of Experimental Medicine."
"This was taken in front of the Bier Pinsel in Stieglitz. It used to be used for bars and restaurants but has since closed down. To me it looks like a bit like space ship, another weird piece of architecture in Berlin."
"The design of a lot of the buildings means there are these huge canvases created on the flat parts of apartment buildings, so you often find interesting murals and large artworks around the city on these walls."
"The light coming through the scaffolding caught my eye and I noticed this old crumbling building where the inside was filled with trees, made for some interesting shadows."
"Another piece of wall art in summer time, somewhere in Moabit. I feel like there’s something very German about a bakery, pharmacy and flower shop with an awning under a block of flats for some reason."
"And of course a photographic tour of Berlin wouldn’t be complete without a Späti and a Döner Haus. Essential locations for people living in this city."
Photography by: Jack Ritchie