Book Review: Berliner Luft

Berliner Luft by Benjamin Tafel and Dennis Orel (available on Amazon UK and USA.)


Publisher Hatje Cantz Verlag writes: Cavalry captain and riding games, Coziness Colony, Mariendorf trotting professionals, Zehlendorf glazes, boarding in Eden House, Erich Mielke’s house plant, hurdy-gurdy man and curry sausages on Alex, Neverland in Plänterwald, prêt-à-porter in Wedding, Dad’s old basement party room, Clärchen’s Knallhaus, massages with happy end, Kreuzberg bunker beans, Leydicke’s bitter orange schnaps, fetish in Spandau, Paradox Ball at Cafe Keese, Kreuzberg nights, KaDeWe and caviar. All of these new and unusual motifs-and more-in the idiosyncratic language of photographers Benjamin Tafel (*1977) and Dennis Orel (*1978), with authentic commentary and observations on location all around the capital of Germany.

DSC_0691 Kopie.jpgHaus des Berliner Verlags

Nothing makes me happier than a new stack of books for review landing on my doorstep:


I think we’ve established by now that everyone loves Berlin. Berliner Luft will make you love it even more.

Although the book is first and foremost a photography book, whispers, snippets of conversations between tourists, anecdotes, scenes, accompany the images and capture the spirit of the city better than any guide could ever do.

In East Berlin, prisoners on their way to the detention center of the Ministry for State Security were secretly transported on a delivery truck marked with the words “fresh fish.” The shadow of East Berlin is everywhere, even in potted plants.

DSC_7294.jpgPanAm Lounge

DSC_9912.jpgPotsdamer Platz

The book presents people and places, architecture, moods, clichés and secrets. Berliner Luft skips the hipsters, fancy fashion showrooms and international art galleries. The focus is rather on the decadent, peerless Berlin that smells of curry sausages, dances the discofox in the afternoon, hears the muezzin call from the tarmac of Tempelhof airport (R.I.P.), and parties in bleak former power stations.

00DSC_3817.jpgClub Avalon

I’m quite amazed at the number of fetish clubs that the authors have visited btw. Should you wish to drop by any of them, Tafel and Orel provide the precise address of each bar, abandoned radar station, Russian delicatessen, Imbiss, S&M joint, or park they have photographed.

9783775726160_04.jpglautrevueinterne.jpgViews inside the book

The book reminds us also that campy kingdom lurks behind every corner. Just 3 words to sustain my point “Old Town Texas“!

Flughafen Tempelhof, Platz der Luftbruecke 5.jpgAirport Tempelhof


DSC_6016 Kopie.jpgStuttgarter Platz