Night on Kastanienallee

Night on Kastanienallee – from istanbul döner kebab house passing asia take away up to konopkes fast food shop. pictures for the 2001calendar. i’m interested in the garden gnome standing between the fishes in the yellow-lit pet shop. first address the döner – istanbul. a glittering blue waterfall. great i am looking for kitsch. the dönerman likes me taking pictures of his filthy shop. giving signs to take pictures of him. o.k.,enter – for the first time. usually one goes to falafel shops of course.

two alcoholics in leather jackets are already there. taking each other in their arms for the camera. the turk likes posing. playing with the dönerknife. don’t make a fool of yourself. that’s how they want their pictures the turkish. the leatherjacket with policemanbeard is staring at me. he starts with russian welcome phrases. i don’t know if he really speaks russian. answer polish. absurd. don’t speak russian, ey. he is really drunk. go on taking pictures. that’s exactly what i want. do you think i don’t know how i look? drunk! drunk. so what? is that a great picture? drunk. he hugs the colleague, smiling artificially. is that what you want? is that what i want? yes. that’s my picture of istanbul kebab house. that’s what i want.

Photograph by Anna Voswinckel

what can a picture tell about life? he is looking at me. one more time: what can a picture tell about the life behind it? i think i say something about surfaces and good pictures. but this is not the topic. there is a whole life behind it – does this interest you at all? does it interest you? does it interest me? do you want to hear about a broken life? do you know what this is? a wasted life? i think about the kitsch in the question. the sentence: do you want to talk about it? does not come to mind. i try to know whether i want to listen, but i already know that i have to listen. a broken life. i don’t give a shit about society. don’t give me this society. do you think i don’t know what kind of picture i make? fuck off. fuck off. a good opportunity. to leave now or later – everthing is cowardice.

i’ve raised my son. that’s what i am proud of. he makes me proud. he was twelve. i begged her: think about our child. but she went off to the west. she wanted it all. money and everything nice, with turks in kreuzberg. there she is sitting now. not far from here and she too is badly off. my son attends the gymnasium. i raised him by myself. a wasted life. i never let anybody use me. i was never in the party or anything like that. but i did my work well. that’s why they needed me. electronic devices. i was in the soviet union. electronic devices. you don’t know what that is? well, your fault – bad luck. somehow he talked himself proud. i’m happy. we give each other five. i say that he can be really proud of his son. mainly because it now looks like a good way out. o.k. make one more photo.

i don’t know – suddenly i’m the monkey. i do it to please him maybe – that’s what i think. then i think about focus, exposure time and the slot machine in the background. he looks at me through the lens. shit, that’s artificial again. i press the button. take the camera from my face. he is crying. i say something like thank you. he is turning around. fuck off. fuck off! one second i stay lost. i stare at him. don’t know where to look. turn around and leave the shop. the turk is following me. sorry. i can’t believe him saying sorry. still don’t know what to say besides thank you. thank you. i’m no journalist. this is no story. thank you. i’m standing outside. cold. i don’t even know the name of the guy. i go on taking pictures for the year 2001.

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