Checkpoint Charlie, Berlin, Germany

SEPTEMBER 2001 – The former border crossing between West and East Berlin known as ‘Checkpoint Charlie’ on a cloudy day. © Mark Zanzig/zanzig.com


The story behind the image

The other day I stumbled upon this photo from 2001 showing the former border crossing between West and East Berlin that became world famous as Checkpoint Charlie. (The official page by Berlin Tourism has more details.)

Before I approached the spot, I had vivid ideas of how spectacular it would be. And I remember being very disappointed as the checkpoint was really just a tiny hut in the middle of the street, protected by sand sacks. The building on the left was under construction, adding clutter to the image. The office building in the back was modern and faceless. However, the pole in the middle of the street shows a portrait of a Russian soldier, indicating where East Berlin would begin. The back of the poster shows an American soldier, by the way, so my image is looking from the American sector towards the Russian sector.

Two decades after having taken the image, I think it is interesting. It makes clear that the once deadly physical border is nothing more than a virtual border today. Without the hut, there wouldn’t be any hint of the cruel past and the related fact that it was one of the very few border crossings between the East and the West.


The high resolution image

Capture Date & Time02-SEP-2001, 12:57
LocationBerlin, Germany
CameraKodak DC 4800 Zoom Digital
ISO200
Exposure1/750 sec at f/4.5
Digital Image Source FormatJPEG, 24 bits/pixel, sRGB
Edited Image FormatJPEG, 24 bits/pixel, sRGB
Edited Image Dimensions1164 x 1746 Pixels
Copyright© by Mark Zanzig/zanzig.com

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