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What Berlin looked like
June 1982 The Brandenburg Gate and lower Berlin Wall section

Berlin in the eighties

was an orphaned island in the communist east, surrounded by wall of reinforced concrete, contained by the German Democratic Republic. The Iron Curtain was guarded day and night by heavily armed soldiers. Berlin, sustained by West German money and American promises, had evolved a strange demographic. There was no industry to speak of. Companies held token offices in Berlin the better to take advantage of the “Berlin Zulage”.. The population consisted mainly of students and pensioners. Many of the former had fled to Berlin to avoid being called up for military service, often sustained by remiuttances from their parents and the latter, who subsisted, for better or worse, on meagre state pensions.

The Iron Curtain

… may have been perpetually illuminated but it still felt dark at night. Winter during the cold war was marked by the continental cold and because of a choking, yellow smog made up of millions of brown coal ovens. The summer was gloriously warm and the town emptied precipitously. Many of the younger people went to live on Gomera, As a result it would have been a good time for the Russians to invade.

The Cold War

… was an everyday aspect of Berlin life. At once trapped in the remains of a world war bubble and developing radical politics around housing, the ’68 generation questioned many aspects of authoritarian social norms which had remained largely unquestioned after the Nazi history.

I moved to Berlin in 1982 from London michaelcameronhughes.eu/bio-2020/ where I was a squatter in North Islington (Jeremy Corbyn’s constituency). Apart from the romantic aspects; eating wild strawberries in no-man’s-land by the Berlin Wall, I found like-minded leftists and an openness to a progressive politics which I accompanied with my camera. Here is a link to a picture archive you may like to look at umbruch-bildarchiv.org/

I was able to enjoy the privilege of photographing my daily life, as well as experiencing an unholy joy and excitement at being a part of a movement in one of the strangest cites in the world.

The photography you will find here is the portrait of a city apparently forgotten by the march of time, again being engulfed and transformed.

Get a momento of the end of an era

The photographs on sale here were made on real film, scanned and printed on Hahnemühle paper with an Epson printer. Each photo will be printed only when ordered. By buying one you will help me to eke out my meagre pension! They have archival quality and should be good for 100 years,

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