A series of prints made between 1983 – 1989 based on the Berlin Subway.

Berlin Subway by Diane Kaye

1 Carful


2The Glare


3 Gossiping


4 Schlecht Drauf


5 Big Eyes


6 Old and Young


7 Couple with Cane


8 Happy Couple


9 Two Guys


10 East German S-Bahn Couple


11 Model Face


12 Stylish Exit 13 On the Platform



Diane Kaye:  Inspiration for “Berlin Subway” series

I have a degree in German Studies from UC Berkeley and studied in Goettingen, Germany.  I developed a desire to document the demeanor of the Germans in public in the 80’s, and the best place to get a close-up unguarded look was the subway.  There are several unusual ways my subjects behaved in that environment, and I liked the expressive body language.  Even though they put on a public face, some of these moments are more intimate.  These photographs represent a certain slice of the population, who tend to look different than the “Mercedes people” enjoying a much more comfortable existence in the big city.

I spent several months – many of the years in the 80’s, always riding the subway myself.  On the way to my destinations I had my little point and shoot Olympus film camera ready on my knees at all times, and because of shake and also the extreme quiet of the fellow passengers, I found that the only sharp photos that I could safely get away with were those made at the precise moment when the subway doors banged closed.  I looked away while pressing the shutter.  That means that usually the driver’s actions would determine the moment.  There were a lot of strange outsider/intruder feelings in executing this plan.

To convey a lot more of the atmosphere, I spent three days riding with a boom box, recording characteristic sounds, part of the wonderful riding experience.  This was a useful accompaniment to a show of this series in the US.



Copyright © Diane Kaye 1990
No additional distribution or publication without the express written permission of Diane Kaye.