I first fell in love with Berlin in summer of 2012, when I did a fashion internship here for a month. It was my first time going away alone for that long. I had no idea what to expect, I hadn’t done much research about what it would be like here, I only spoke a secondary school level of German, which wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either. At least I could mumble enough German to order myself a hot chocolate nervously. I was very young and so wonderfully, innocently naive. I was brave and ready to take risks to create the life I wanted. I felt a wonderful sense of freedom, and truly loved my neighbourhood (I was staying in Charlottenburg, a place I still love today). it was a time where I felt truly excited about life, the possibilities, the adventures I would go on, I was excited for the people I would meet and the memories I would make.
Since then, so much has happened, including living in Berlin after graduating from university, moving back to London, moving to Germany (Stuttgart) and finding my way back to Berlin again. Once you leave your hometown you’ll learn one of two things: either that you really belong back in your hometown, or that you really don’t. For me, it felt like the latter, but I’ve always had that feeling about London for as long as I could remember. I always knew I would leave. From the many trips I’d taken with my family from a young age, I knew my adventurous heart wouldn’t remain in the same city I grew up in.
Today I still feel the same lust for life that I felt back then, if not more, I’m still someone who is willing to take risks and venture into the unknown to find my place… only today my desires and wants out of life are different to the ones I had when I was 21. That’s pretty natural though, right? Most of us don’t want the same things out of life in our thirties than we did in our twenties. I’ve gone through the unique heartbreak of realising I don’t feel the same about the city that once stole my heart. Berlin has changed drastically in the last decade. My favourite restaurants, bars, hangouts, no longer exist. The political climate has shifted. The city centre is a lot dirtier (which is the case about many city centres, worldwide). Friends have moved on to other places. Homelessness is on the rise. This Berlin is not the same Berlin I had a beautiful courtship with some years ago.

When you’re grieving the loss of what a place once was and you’re struggling to adapt to its current state, it can be easy to forget the good things that are still right there in front of you. It can be easy to forget that you currently have everything you once wished to have. It can be easy to overlook the wonderful things, and I’ve admittedly done that for a while. When I first came to Berlin, I photographed this city extensively. I have a bad habit of only documenting places when I travel, and not enough when I live somewhere. I’m trying to change that and decided to take more photo walks in Berlin, causing me to appreciate the beauty and the tender moments, the moments that I may have otherwise missed without my camera. Being out with my camera forces me to be still, to be present, to spot the moments of quiet and charm. I’m done mourning what once was, and ready to embrace the beauty that still exists through a new lens.
All images were taken in 2023.
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