He was seventeen when he moved into Warhol’s Factory: Stephen Shore, later the co-founder of American color photography, experienced the creative chaos, the parties and performances of Andy, the Velvet Underground, and Nico up close and documented them with his camera. The photography exhibition “The Velvet Years” describes the years 1965-1967 and is still touring the world.
She was fourteen when she left home: Nan Goldin, later known for her unsparing images of sex, drugs and violence, moved to New York after her studies and documented nights in the Mudd Club and days in the apartments of Cookie Mueller and Bruce Baldoni in Little Italy. Her slide show “The Ballad of Sexual Dependency” was created between 1980 and 1986 and ran in various museums.
He was twenty-four when he moved to London: Wolfgang Tillmans, later winner of the Turner Prize, plunged deeply into the club and gay scenes and created iconic portraits of his friends which were published contemporaneously as fashion photos in lifestyle magazines. Today his photographs from the 1990s are among the standard works of youth culture and represented in all of the important collections.
Carolin Saage was twenty-six when she received carte blanche from the owners of Bar25 in Berlin – the only one – to document the milieu. At that point in time, the bar wasn’t even there, just a wooden shed. Here is where you built, lived, celebrated. Carolin Saage was there “embedded” like a war reporter who is allowed to officially accompany the troops to the front. The voyage of Bar25 began with the construction of portable toilets and ended seven years later with a six-day party that has been burned into the collective Berlin memory.
Only over the course of time did the young photographer comprehend what subject was being presented to her there, what a unique chance and source of inspiration. She worked with a 35mm camera, a Nikon, chose a 50mm lens that depicts perspectives and proportions genuinely; only sometimes did she grab her wide-angle lens, for the idea was closeness, intimacy. The equipment had to be easy to handle, she had to be fast in order to capture moments that would never come again. Thus, she was always concentrated, wide awake, often cursed that she “had to go there” yet again, but loved it immediately the moment she entered the Western saloon, when the motives simply plopped in front of her and her creative eye found the right composition. For an entire summer, Carolin Saage even lived in a hippy van on the site – she later welcomed being able to stand back once in a while just for even a short time: after all, she worked in a place where others celebrated.