When I went to Germany on my own this time, I expected and intended to try a lot more of Euro street photography. It has been said, by a in this respect and others completely unreliable German source, that taking photos of people in public is much more difficult than in Japan. This comment makes sense to some degree. Apart from receiving a, shall we say, veiled threat from what I can only think of as a Russian yakuza in Japan, there is little or nobody bothering to challenge the street photographer in Japan.
Since we know that Germans like to challenge things and people, I expected a lot more suspicion and resistance. And while for family reasons I did not find as much time for taking pictures as I would have liked to, I did some just to get a feel for shooting in a “foreign” environment.
Rather unsurprisingly, it is pretty similar to shooting in Japan. Naturally, the subject matter is different, and in my personal opinion far less exciting than in Japan, but that’s a different issue. I felt surprised being able to speak freely to people, in the case they joked about me photographing them, or in one case asking me what I am doing this for (I replied I am visiting from far away).
This little series was taken more or less haphazardly when I accompanied my mother to a doctor’s appointment at 8 or so in the morning. The location is a shopping centre area in what in Japan would be called new town, or housing development elsewhere, built in the 1960s. This area has never been of much interest to me, and this hasn’t changed. As youths we tried to avoid it because the social structure of the area was rather different from our backgrounds in the traditional town. We spent little time there, or with others from that area.
Unfortunately I had only the roll of film available, that was in the camera at the time, but it was enough to get into the groove and be able to compare. Don’t know what to make of the photos. I wish I would have had more film, and the market itself was not of such a great interest to me, but the only thing that was going on there at that time of day.
As for the girl in the wheelchair, I had no hesitation taking a photo of her, as she is part of the scene there like the others. We had a brief conversation, and it turned out that she was visiting from Heidelberg and had difficulties getting around in this unknown city. I replied that I have the same problem, which seemed to surprise her for some reason.