Battered Berlin

City of Scars

Kranzler Corner, West Berlin, 1994. karl-Ludwig Lange
Kranzler Corner, West Berlin, 1994. Courtesy: Karl-Ludwig Lange
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Karl-Ludwig Lange documented the changing face of Berlin for 40 years.

  • Facts

    Facts

    • Mr. Lange’s work illustrates the stark differences between fashionable West Berliners and those frozen in time in the East.
    • Ten exhibitions in venues across Berlin are showing over 1,000 of his photos of the city’s inhabitants and streetscapes.
    • Mr. Lange came to Berlin in 1967 to begin an apprenticeship as a photographer.
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  • Audio

    Audio

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After 1945, Berlin was a city split, partitioned and, finally, cut through by a wall. Not much was left of the capital’s former significance or old splendor.

In the 1970s, Karl-Ludwig Lange captured both sides of the divided city in a series of street photos, showing everyday people waiting at stoplights.

In the West, he captured images of teenagers in bell-bottoms, their hair coiffed like Günter Netzer, a popular soccer player. He shot people, wealthy from West Germany’s economic miracle, in expensive coats, standing in front of jewelry and nightclub advertisements.

His photos of the East of the city are a stark contrast. The building facades are sooty and grey, the people wear old-fashioned coats. And yet, the faces in both parts of the city resemble each other. They view the world with skepticism. They are glum.

Even though his name is not so well-known now, Mr. Lange is probably the most important Berlin photographer of the post-war era.

For more than 40 years, he photographed the continuously changing city in all its facets. Now the Kommunale Gallery in Berlin is showing over 1,000 of his photos in 10 venues around the city.

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