Photographer and filmmaker, Nehemias Colindres, offers a portrait of Berlin, a city he has made home. His films and photographs reveal wildly diverse sides of the city and the many characters that inhabit it. Here he reveals his love for the city and his motivation for making it the subject of his images and film.
“I hate this city. I've lost count of the times I've uttered those words about the place I call home. But I've been here over three years because each time I say it, something draws me back in.
I didn't know what that thing was, and that was the point of this film – because you can capture things through a lens that the naked eye can't always see.
Berliners often put themselves through hell to be here because the potential outcome is one of beauty, creativity, excitement and freedom.
This is their story. Our story.
Over 24 hours I shot the sides of this place that would make some people vow never to live here. But to those who call Berlin “home” they represent the very reasons we stay.
Everyone that comes here has their own tale but they intertwine to make a bigger story of the city as a whole. It lives and breathes like an organism.
From the Turkish man driving a taxi through the darkness of night to make an honest living, to the young Japanese girl trying to re-invent herself through dance in a new country, each person in this film is a cell in that organism.
These snapshots show the common struggle of those who come here. That in itself is the beauty of the place – the fact that we are willing to fight for it.
The businessman, who on the outside looks so together, struggles to experience a connection to anyone or anything. He is longing for something; he is fighting his loneliness.
Yet beyond the isolation he finds here lies a will to stay and to connect – if not to the people then to the very fabric of the city. As he bursts, shirt open, out into the street there is a desperation in his face which shows his need to be at one with the very concrete and pavements of the place. The story of the performance dancer shares that same longing and determination.
She goes about her morning routine, focused and in training. She is alone here but her dancing transports her to another Berlin – one where she belongs. Her dancing is her reason for being here so when she climbs to the roof and performs it is as though she does so for the very buildings of the city themselves.
But the punks who are spat out from their dismal home in high spirits, drinking beers as they stride through Berlin resemble freedom from the struggle.
They have completed the circle – connected to the city and gone one step further by owning it. Their face paints are masks of reinvention you can only wear in a place like this.
They are hope. Like my shots of bright light shining through an open window; an aeroplane flying low in a blue sky – the escape route that none of these people have chosen yet.
This film captures what makes this place so special and reminds me of the power of film to present a slice of life. Berlin is a place of failure, it is a place of triumph and free will. Though harsh and relentless at times, in its heart is magic.
Tell us your city’s story in one picture
Cities are rich melting pots where many people converge, as filmmaker Nehemias Colindres conveys in his film and photos of Berlin. However, it can be challenging to capture the diversity of a city in a single frame. There are many different views of the same place. With this in mind, why not take up this month’s photo challenge and capture what your city means to you in a single shot? For example, you could show the contrasts in style between city workers and hipsters, convey how communities rub shoulders or capture historic streets juxtaposed against arresting modernity.
Show us your city in one photo and then when you’ve captured your city, upload your photo to the ‘My City’ category on our Gallery here.