The Project and its History

It all started with that telephone call on the evening of the ninth of November 2004. Did I have time to photograph everyday scenes of Berlin in black and white with my Widelux, to be published in the weekend supplement of the Berliner Zeitung. One photo per supplement as an individual feature, without text. For eight editions, nine at the most. It's quite urgent!

The following morning I got going, handing in the films rolls in the evening. And three days later I held the first of my “Berlin Views” in my hands, spreading over five columns.

My photos went down well with the readers, and thus nine editions turned into 213. The last of my „Berlin Views“ was printed on the 27th of December 2008. Over a period of four years and two months, I delivered my weekly photo, without interruption - sometimes at the last minute, because if you don't stage your photo you have to rely on what you are offered by coincidence. You have to be at the right place at the right time, with all your senses on alert. A bit of luck also helps.

I captured everyday occurrences on the streets, the squares and in the parks across all the different boroughs of the city on film. I was drawn to the banks of the rivers Spree and Havel, to the cafés, bars and hangouts, the hospitals, museums and theatre foyers. I pointed my camera at young and old, women and men, poor and rich, natives and tourists. I was interested in how all these people behaved, and how they interacted with each other.

I don’t feel that I have finished with this project, and ever since I have terminated my commitment with the Berliner Zeitung, I have been continuing it off my own bat.

In 2008, I showed my photos for the first time in an exhibition. In 2009, they were published as a photo essay in the magazine “Berliner Zukünfte”. In 2010, I was granted a project funding by the cultural fund foundation of VG Bild Kunst, and I was represented at the 4th European Month of Photography.

In the following year, I took stock of my work in the retrospective Frank Silberbach, Panoramic Photographs of Berlin 2004-2011. I picked 73 negatives out of 21,000, and enlarged them. The Berlin photo historian Dr. Enno Kaufhold described the exhibition in his welcome speech as one large genre scene of Berlin.

In order to reach a large audience and to give all the facets of BERLIN 140° a joint platform, I set up this website following the exhibition. I am arranging my photographs according to the unfolding of the seasons. This way, an imaginary year will emerge from the many calendar years as time goes by.

On 6 June 2013, the premiere of BERLIN 140° zum Sehen & Hören (BERLIN 140° to Watch & Listen) - an adaptation of silent film with piano accompaniment - took place at the Berliner Luftraum. I projected my images and Christoph Schlemmer accompanied the visual projection on the drums with 92 pieces composed especially for the event.

Since 9 September 2013, BERLIN 140° is also available as a book. It has been published by Edition Braus, with a foreword by Thomas Brussig and layout by Frank Wonneberg. I selected the images and the order they are shown in. The book contains 79 photographs as duplex prints.