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Kollwitz Kiez, Berlin 2018

This picture was taken in the Kollwitz Kiez in Berlin. It's just a random mail woman delivering packages. I first noticed the mailboxes of the building, I think I have never seen ones like those before. The reflective brass surface makes them look very precious. It's kind of obvious that this is a rich area of the city.

So, the two things are: one, I love taking pictures of reflective surfaces. Two, I often feel uncomfortable taking shots of people I don't know. So I try to sneak around them, to make sure they won't notice me, but this doesn't make it much better. As a matter of fact, it makes it worse. I feel like I am stealing something from them.

With this picture I sort of found a loophole around my awkwardness – call it code of ethics. Technically, I wasn't photographing her, the post woman, but rather her reflection, and I would argue that her reflection does not belong to her as much as her image does. Somehow, capturing her reflection on those golden mailboxes gave me a sense of legitimacy.

I still hid behind the wall though. It ended up being the right choice because it made the picture more interesting that it would have been otherwise. But honestly, I think the main reason why I chose that angle is because I didn't want to be busted by her. What can I say, you make do of your limits. So, one could say, I chickened out. When it comes to infringing people's privacy there is an actual ethical dilemma for photographers, but I reckon this was not the case. And still, this fear of “being busted”; what's the worst that can happen, right? This sense of doing something a bit naughty... I guess I like it. It's like a little shiver. Perhaps this is one of the things I like most about taking photos. Do other people feel that too? Do other people like it? I like this slight sense of discomfort. I think instinctively we shy away from this kind of feelings, we don't like to have to put up with them. But I say, just embrace! It's not that bad when you do it.

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