Think of Berlin and adjectives like bright, shiny, and happy don’t exactly spring to mind. But Matthias Heiderich has managed to capture something rarely seen in the city: its smile.
Heiderich, a self-taught photographer, has spent the past several years patroling Berlin and its surroundings, snapping pictures of cheery vintage roller coasters and light-drenched murals and playgrounds that look like they were dipped in a vat of Kool-Aid. On their own, the images aren’t terribly provocative — the compositions are flat and pretty barren, with some showing nothing more than a single window or the corner of a building — but taken together, they evoke a blissed-out, druggy listlessness sure to scandalize any Berliner worth his Schopenhauer. (Who knew Berlin’s bizarro twin was 1970s Santa Monica?) “My photography is about the fine line between utopia and dystopia,” Heiderich tells Co.Design in an email. “It’s very important to me to conserve a special atmosphere [so] [y]ou have to look at them as series, that’s how they function.”
To snag all that sherbety atmosphere, Heiderich uses a parade of cameras including: a Zeiss Ikon Ikoflex (a medium format twin lens camera), a Polaroid SX70, a Pentax K20D, and assorted 35mm cameras and Holgas. His real secret, though? Location, location, location. “I usually try to avoid taking pictures of the famous buildings in Berlin,” he says. “My trips are mostly outside the city centre into the not so famous parts of Berlin like Marzahn, Moabit, Mariendorf, Tegel, Reinickendorf.” We’d love to see what this guy could do in Tulsa.