Berlin balcony

matrix – Andrew Catlin

The picture was shot in Kreuzberg in Berlin.

The Appartment block was being renovated by developers, but one old lady insisted on staying in her home. The whole building was covered in plastic, but it meant they had to leave her balcony uncovered.

The balcony became like a stage draped with huge curtains.

Each day they would grind away at the building, covering her balcony with dirt, and each day she would sweep it clean with her orange gloves on.

Her movements show quiet resilience, determination and dignity.

People who see the picture spend a long time looking at it. A lot of them say that it reminds them of their own grandmother.

Usually they smile; occasionally they cry.

Perhaps this describes something of a quality that many old people have. They know they will die all too soon, and that they have nothing left to prove and little left to lose. It gives them a certain courage and grace and sadness, and a satisfaction in small things.

AC September 2016

” The greatest thing a human soul ever does in this world is to see something and tell what he saw in a plain way. Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, but thousands can think for one who can see. To see clearly is poetry, prophecy, and religion all as one”

John Ruskin.

an image revisited, from words of today after an inquiry for the provenance and story of the mono print that was bought for a collection.

the words illustrate that photography, documentary photography is never a matter of chance nor design.

the matrix editions, were and are hugely important. Andrew is the most important photographer of the eighties. His love, respect and understanding of all people, his desire to share his perception of them through portraiture has left us with some of the most gentle and powerful images through the photographic medium.

yet what the matrix show, and all of his work, is that portraiture is of the moment with the wisest of eyes.


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