U3 – The University Metro
Berlin’s underground line 3 runs through the city’s southwest, between Nollendorfplatz station and its terminus Krumme Lanke. It connects the campuses of the Berlin university ‘Freie Universität’ with the western city centre. Its present course is 12.1 kilometres long and exists since 2004. In particular the stations being located on Wilmersdorf territory were given quite an aesthetic appearance to remain as icon for the former wealth of this neighbourhood.
Visibly irritated an old lady asks me during photographing Thielplatz station, “[…] what we’re doing here and what the hell we’re taking photos of […]” – such amazement is one of my driving forces in terms of photography as later, when exactly the same people have a look at the taken photo and ask themselves, why they haven’t noticed the motif or the perspective.
Fortunately the U3 line has more picturesque stations than Thielplatz. One of the most interesting stops is Heidelberger Platz, as its ceiling structure is akin to an underground cathedral, but also the course-wise neighbouring stations are imposing since they faintly reminiscent of Moscow’s Metro.
The metro stations of Russia’s capital, actually Soviet Union’s capital, symbolise the power of labouring class. In Berlin it’s the other way round as they display the bourgeois-rich basic tenor of the Wilmersdorf neighbourhood, one of Berlin’s Kiezes. Though not all stations are that pretty as for example Thielplatz, mentioned before, or Onkel Toms Hütte have nothing but a quite functional look.
Time-wise the 10-minute interval of the U3 pretty much stretches the photographic trudging along all of its stops and after having reached Krumme Lanke station I was jolly well fed up. On the other hand that must be seen positive as if U3 would run that messy like M10 tram then this photo series wouldn’t be finished even tomorrow.
Shortly before arriving Onkel Toms Hütte, one of the U-drivers rants at me. Maybe he’s got a bad day or maybe he feels disturbed by my camera. Well, he can’t know the fact that all my photos inherently maintain personal rights, by not involving people or by making them unrecognisable. However, again it was a very productive rail ride through Berlin’s underground, strictly using aperture 1.4, a focal length of 24mm and together with my photographer friend Torsten Goltz.