The photos this week are of the Berlin-Spandau canal. They were taken over a few weeks in late Winter along a twenty-minute walking stretch in Wedding, where I lived for three months last year.
There is nothing remarkable about the canal other than what there is to find ordinarily along it. There is almost no reason to visit it as an attraction, or to stop and consider these scenes by day, when the ubiquity of light makes every tedious detail visible; but this is not to deny its industrial beauty by night.
In fact the scene that shows the junction of gravel walking paths amongst some trees is impossible by day. What makes the scene possible is the intersection of the trees’ shadows cast by factory lights shining from behind on the other side of the canal. And what makes the photograph itself possible is one shadow in particular – the tree that emerges out of the bottom left corner, without which there is nothing to guide the viewer to the exit path that links with the flow of traffic in the background, and along which the other dominant vertical shadow in the photograph is cast.
One element that is barely obvious, and unrecognisable unless you have visited Berlin, are the segments of the Wall which stand like silhouetted totems immediately behind the brick wall in the photograph with the navigation sign (immediately below). The character of this type of segment is shown in the last photograph: these segments are in a vacant lot by the canal about a twenty minutes by bike from Wedding towards Spandau.