Klaus Antonius Blanke - an east-west german portrait

fine art inkjet prints, varying sizes, 2013-2018, Berlin

Antonius grew up in a Catholic family in Ruhlsdorf, a small village in the town of Teltow, in the former East Berlin. He studied architecture in the western part of the city before the Berlin Wall was built. Since Antonius had witnessed the transformation of Berlin during the first years of the Cold War and into reunification, he was a valuable source of information for me. Through interviews and excursions in Berlin with Antonius, I was able to trace this transformation of the city through the eyes of someone with first-hand insight. In the course of our interviews, I learned that he was a child during World War II and because he lived adjacent to the Berlin Wall he was socialized both in East and West Germany. Experiencing these parallel worlds is also part of my own biography. My mother grew up in Mecklenburg (then East Germany) and moved to Hamburg in West Germany before the Berlin Wall was built, where she completed training as a nurse.

In September 2013 I decided to do a photographic portrait of Antonius Klaus Blanke to capture the flavor of Berlin between Word War II and into the Cold War through his eyes. To accomplish this goal Antonius and I visited his 1938 birthplace in Berlin and the places of his childhood and youth in and around the former East Berlin.