Germany and Austria Untold
‘Der andere Blick – Germany and Austria untold’
Students of German (Department of Modern Languages) took these photographs during their Year Abroad or on other visits in Germany and Austria.
The photographers were encouraged to select an image for the competition which depicted their personal experience of the places they got to know, and what living in Germany or Austria meant to them.
The exhibition was opened during the Southampton German Festival.
Will you be my travel buddy, 2016
In this gloomy German weather, it was a great surprise to find these colourful padlocks that represent the union of two beings, locked on the famous bridge in Cologne. I am not ready for such promise yet, but for now, will you be my travel buddy?
East Side Gallery, 2016
This photo was taken on my 19th birthday at the East Side Gallery in Germany’s capital city Berlin. It relates to the theme of thinking beyond the stereotypes usually associated with this country, as it subverts the stereotype that Germany is a traditional and clean country. This photo, on the other hand, showcases a modern and urban aspect of Germany’s culture and landscape. Having visited many different parts of Germany previously, I thought that I knew what it meant for something to look ‘German’. However, my visit to the East side of Berlin and to the remains of the Berliner Mauer changed my perspective of that. It made me realise how different life was for those on the other side of the wall, only some 25 years ago. The graffiti and writing all the way down the wall gives an insight into this. It represents the freedom of movement and expression that Germans were not permitted for a long time.
On a rainy day trip to Dresden I thought I’d make the most of the opportunity to take ‘arty’ puddle pictures. I was trying to get a nice shot of these pretty buildings (the Hofkirche and Georgenbau) when a cyclist came whizzing by on the pavement, almost knocking me over. At first I thought they’d ruined my picture of the buildings, but then I realised, really no picture taken in Germany would be complete without a bicycle in it. Germany certainly has a lot of beautiful architecture, but what I’ll most remember from my year there is constantly dodging out of the way of cyclists.
There is something better than perfection, 2016
The way the mother is staring at her child, the unconditional love without veils, and the realisation that reality can overcome mere perfection. Germany was very much similar to this piece of street art to me. I leave Germany after a year and I look at it by admiring all its imperfections and praising all its contradictions. I took this picture strolling through the streets of Frankfurt am Main with my German friend, Johannes. I gazed at the mural and I wondered about its meaning to the artist, whereas I suddenly understood its meaning to me: Germany was not perfect, but I could not have imagined it more perfect.
Framed from afar, 2016
As the second largest port in Europe, and the second largest city in Germany, most great shots of Hamburg usually consist of rooftops, church spires, and plenty of maritime water. At first, this shoreline photo resembles none of these things. Look a little more closely however, and the coast at Blankenese, a district on the West side of Hamburg, still embodies so much of Hamburg’s beauty. The lighthouse landmark in the centre of the frame is a reminder of the city’s nautical makeup. The footprints in the sand allude to Hamburg’s bustling population. And in the distance, it is just possible to make out the silhouettes of the city centre’s main industrial buildings. Hamburg’s charm and diversity is really captured in this photo. Industrial yet coastal, lively yet serene, evolving, yet timeless – contrasts that blend perfectly in such an incredible metropolitan city.
Ampelpärchen (traffic light couple), 2016
In Vienna, pedestrians are no longer escorted across a road by the Ampelmännchen – he has been replaced by loved-up couples of all sexual orientations. The picture shows a lesbian traffic-light couple helping people to cross the road just outside the Staatsoper. The new traffic lights were installed in the wake of Austria’s victory at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2014 when drag queen Conchita Wurst won the competition. The initiative was intended to demonstrate to the world that Vienna is a truly cosmopolitan city. I always smile whenever I see these traffic lights because of the warm, positive message they send out to people crossing the street. Though it remains a religious city with a less than clean track record with regard to tolerating gay people, Jews etc., these ‘Ampelpärchen’ are important because they show that the city is making an effort to be as weltoffen as possible.
Brandenburg Gate, 2016
The Brandenburg Gate represents a gateway through the centre of Berlin: a gateway between history and different cultures. However for 28 years this gateway was impassable due to conflicting ideologies and different views. We must not allow people to be divided because of difference. This is an important message for all of society.
Osterbaum (Easter tree), 2016
When you say ‘Austria’, images of mountains, yodelling, milkmaids in dirndl and goatherds in lederhosen normally spring to mind. But being half-Austrian myself, I love to take the opportunity to show that this beautiful country is more than just what we saw in the Sound of Music. Austria is rich in tradition and culture, and one of my favourite traditions since I was a child is one of the lesser-known ones.
Every Easter, without fail, the colourful ‘Osterbaum’ (Easter tree) can be spotted almost everywhere: shop windows, outside houses, in village squares… Normally, every family creates their own tree out of pussy-willow branches and hand-painted blown eggs. However, villages often come together to decorate a real, living tree – that requires a lot of eggs! The reason I love this tradition so much is that each tree and each egg is unique. Our tree (in the photo) has eggs my family painted over 15 years ago, as well as eggs we painted this year. That’s why every year when we get the carefully packed eggs back out of the attic, we get a great feeling of nostalgia. This tradition makes Easter about so much more than just religion, it really brings families and communities together.
Im Hinterhof (In the backyard), 2016
I took this photo on a warm August evening from the kitchen window of my flat in Frankfurt, where I lived and worked after graduating. It’s a shot of the Hinterhof, still strewn with the toys that the children of neighbouring families had been playing with that day, away from the traffic and hustle and bustle of the streets. On sunny evenings, my flatmates and I would often pack up our dinner and take it down to eat in the Hinterhof, and what was special for me was that it was a place only known to the people living in the buildings surrounding it. This captures what Germany means to me, as it’s a place I now only know and think of from the perspective of living there, as a home.
Ein künstlerischer Blick (An artistic gaze), 2016
A German man sits and paints Schloss Sanssouci on a sunny day in Potsdam. With the proximity to Berlin playing a large role in choosing Potsdam, I was very pleasantly surprised to discover on arrival that it is arguably the more visually impressive city. Having now spent the best part of a year here, it’s become a city where I now feel very much at home. Despite plenty of tourists, I think I now see it much more as a local and so it’s nice to see how the locals see it.
(European Football Championships 2016)
This was my favourite moment of my summer this year. To watch Germany play at the Brandenburg gate alongside native Berliners was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced, an electric atmosphere with thousands of wild fans. In this moment everyone was connected in one way: we all wanted Germany to win the match! For the first time, despite this being my sixth visit to the city, I felt like a true Berliner.
Naschmarkt – Vienna’s Internationality, 2016
Yes, you can find the typical ‘Dirndl’ as well as other pieces of clothing in Vienna. Many view Vienna as an elegant city, however, if you walk around little corners you will able to find avant-garde items and a mix of multiculturality.
Berlin Wall, 2016
This powerful image shows us the immediate aftermath of the destruction of the Berlin Wall and serves as a direct reminder of the 9th November 1989. As we look at this image we experience the same feelings as the people in the photo: shock, happiness, and most importantly, relief. The influx of people is represented as a waterfall, like a continuous current that never stops. I find it very interesting that the people are only travelling in one direction, as if they never want to turn around. It could therefore be said that they are East German citizens who want to escape from their controlled living conditions and be reunited with friends and family in the West. Above all I believe this image symbolises freedom… the freedom from a communist government and the freedom to be a unique individual. It makes me think about the world in which I live in today: freedom should not be regarded as a privilege, but as a right.
A slice of bygone Vienna, 2016
What I love so much about this photo, is that is not immediately obvious where it was taken. The cobbled streets, the horse and carriage, the ornate lamp post – is it Victorian England or modern-day Vienna? It is only upon a second look that one begins to notice clues as to its setting, such as the words ‘Reiffeisenbank Wien’ on the building to the left of the photograph, a plastic bin in the foreground or a modern shop display in the background. The perspective of the photograph blurs time and space; it shows a former urban beauty perhaps not immediately associated with a contemporary Austrian city. Living in a busy and technological modern world, for me, this view of a street in central Vienna, taken only last year, awakens a sense of nostalgia – a universal nostalgia for the past, irrespective of location.
Mein Rostock* (My Rostock), 2016
Germany is well known for its beautiful scenery: its enchanting forests, its romantic rivers and its fairy-tale-like castles, for example. Often forgotten however, is its coastal area, just as impressive to see and just as enjoyable to visit. Here on a beautiful summer’s evening, after having had a fantastic barbecue, I was sat admiring the lovely sunset at Warnemünde beach, Rostock, and I couldn’t stop thinking about how incredibly lucky I was to be in Germany, most of all about how lucky I was to have been placed in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, a state much less well-known than others (and previously unknown by me), but one that is full of such beauty!
*Mein Rostock – song by Materia in which the singer pines for Rostock, its beach, the Ostsee air and the city in general.