Photographer Harf Zimmermann visited East Berlin’s Hufelandstrasse neighborhood in 1980 when he was 25. At that time, he was studying photography at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig. Zimmermann was deeply inspired by Bruce Davidson’s book, East 100th Street, which cataloged a single block in East Harlem. So, he began regularly photographing people and places in his own neighborhood.
I was out with my camera nearly every day and I had become part of the landscape.
At first, he said, his neighbors found his creative endeavor confusing. Whenever they’d seen a camera in Hufelandstrasse before, it was typically a newspaper photographer who wanted them to pose in ways that enforced prevailing socialist tropes. Mr. Zimmermann, meanwhile, just asked them to stand simply as they were.