Berlin: Freedom Beyond the Wall

For forty years photography in Berlin had been held hostage, like the city, in a ferocious heart-rending ideological struggle, a new war of representation, played out in large part via the image, still and in motion. Protagonist of the great season of photographic reportage in the democracies of the latter half of the twentieth century and instrument of propaganda in the totalitarian regimes of the East, photography narrated and incarnated the division of the two blocs. It focused on that wall built by Soviet power, the materialisation of the Iron Curtain that cut through Europe, separating East from West, real socialism from consumer capitalism. This long bulwark of precast concrete four meters high crossed the city for forty kilometers, continuing for another hundred and forty, enlarged and reinforced again and again, always guarded, observed for almost thirty years by eyes on either side, object of a constant surveillance. This book documents the photography that bore witness to the fall and what came after.