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Beneath the hat

Whom do you confide in?

If you ever meet the “man with the hat” without a hat, he is Christian Fessel. He earns money now and then as a director-cameraman or photographer, was for many years head of the “Info Station Siemensstadt” for the UNESCO World Heritage Site “Berlin Modernism Housing Estates – Ringsiedlung Siemensstadt” and runs the website Siemensstadt.Info

A brief resume.

Back then.

I was trained as a cameraman at the former SFOF Berlin (now part of the UdK Berlin). After graduating in 1986, I worked for TV and freelance productions, for example for many of the hottest short films of the time.

Move to London. Center of life there for about eight years. Working primarily as a cameraman for MusicVideos, as well as a lecturer at LIFS (film school, now called LFS). The preparation for a (unfortunately not realized) film documentary, awakens my interest in the history of London. This interest should later be transferred to Berlin, then Venice.

Followed by being a supervisor for one year at Buck’s Rock Camp, Connecticut, USA. Here responsible for stage lighting and working with the first available video equipment.

Throughout the years I have been working as a cameraman for documentaries, music videos and films. Again and again also in Berlin.

Then.

New centre of life Berlin. Here now primarily working as a cameraman for documentaries. I am especially interested in difficult topics, e.g. teenagers of the extreme right-wing scene, football hooligans or truants. But also long-term documentaries like the renovation of the Berlin Olympic Stadium.

Then I got the TV license for my show “Asmara” on the so-called “Open Channel Berlin”. A wonderful experience with the greatest freedom. It was a rather high-quality produced wellness show and probably the first one on this topic. But at that time nobody (yet) knew what to do with the term. Nevertheless: It was great filming at even better locations.
With the podcast wave around 2007 my comedy audio podcast “Susanne Koch speaks out” went on air on iTunes. The very first episode made it to a “Recommendation of the iTunes editorial staff“. In about 15 episodes the fictitious Susanne Koch in the dialect of the german Electoral Palatinate gave her opinion on just about everything. Improvised.

Various other projects allow me access to the underground, normally inaccessible Berlin: Further breeding ground for my interest in the city’s history. My interest in Urbex and architectural photography is intensified.
In addition, a lot of international travel for filming for various car brands. During the German Rallye Championship I was the chief and helicopter cameraman for five years

New centre of life Berlin. Here now primarily working as a cameraman for documentaries. I am especially interested in difficult topics, e.g. teenagers of the extreme right-wing scene, football hooligans or truants. But also long-term documentaries like the renovation of the Berlin Olympic Stadium.
Various other projects allow me access to the underground, normally inaccessible Berlin: Further breeding ground for my interest in the city’s history. My interest in Urbex and architectural photography is intensified.
In addition, a lot of international travel for filming for various car brands. During the German Rallye Championship I was the chief and helicopter cameraman for five years

Today.

Art on construction, photography on commission, reportages and own productions are my photographic, and still cinematic, focal points.

Beneath the hat 3

Colour accent in large format.
My panorama “Vockerode IV” in the rooms of the DGUV (German statutory accident insurance), Düsseldorf.

Since a couple of years I have also been leading so-called “Photowalks” or “InstaWalks”: a different kind of city tour. Primarily abroad, for example often to the Venice Biennale.
I also give workshops on photo and film topics.

From 2015 to August 2020 I was the head of the so-called “Info Station Siemensstadt” (information centre for the World Heritage Site) and also used it as my administrative base.
And: as an exhibition space.
This wonderful renovated Bauhaus building was accepted right at the beginning as a gallery for the “European Month of Photography Off”.
It also awakened my interest in the history of this unknown UNESCO World Heritage Site, for which it is intended as an “Info Station” and is provided by Deutsche Wohnen SE.
Within these few years, I succeeded in bringing the number of visitors from zero (the station had been idle for two years before) to a very solid number and to increase the level of awareness accordingly.
The real “Info Station Siemensstadt” (the building) is now history for me. What remains is a virtual one, which in the course of time will provide various information about the World Heritage Site, the Siemensstadt itself and the areas surrounding it: Siemensstadt.Info

The PhotoWalks and workshops will continue to take place, but since mid-2019 there is a growing interest in guided tours through the less known areas here in the north of Berlin: Charlottenburg-North and Siemensstadt in Spandau.

From the feedback it is clear that the participants appreciate my intensively researched and verified facts.
This is paired with a style of presentation that doesn’t torment them with dates, but rather deals with the real life stories of the respective time.

Today, my experience ranges from private tours for groups of one person and more, over the normal size of about 25 interested people, to mass tours with more than 80 participants, group tours, as well as outside lectures in front of 300 listeners.
Please see also the page References.

Since 2017, exclusively and on behalf of the owner “Deutsche Wohnen SE”, I have been accompanying trade visitors to the Studio of Hans Scharoun. I am also authorized to lead my own group tours to this place.


Internet:
Christian Fessel Photography: Web / Facebook
The virtual Infostation Siemensstadt: Web / Facebook.


The text for my first flyer from May 2019.

Still valid:

You would like to get to know the UNESCO World Heritage Site from the Weimar Republic, are interested in “organic building”, the company apartments in the countryside until 1930 or even the Bauhaus ?

Or rather for the settlement, which only existed for 10 years, the chapel, which was dismantled twice and rebuilt three times, the luxury buildings, which never existed and yet were shown on the city maps for almost two decades or Berlin’s probably only moon clock?

Stadtumbau Nord, a residential area for privateers, Speers Germania, the Siemensbahn and the U-Bahn line 7 – these projects are decades apart, yet there is something common to all of them here.

Siemensstadt:
What was it like to live here? Back then, in “Siemensstadt 1.0”. Mainly an architect and yet two completely different building styles for work and living/leisure. Progressive.
Charlottenburg-North:
More recreation areas than built-up areas. From matter-of-fact-strike, to “organic architecture” to squeaky colorful. From important memorials to huge public parks. Diverse.
The two districts offer more interesting details than one might think.

Discover it with me on the different tours.


You can find references, media reports and current downloads HERE.

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