« In the mirror | Main | Wimmelbücher »

On photography & RSVP (stationery in Mitte)


It kills me that I didn't have a blog when I moved to Berlin some nine years ago. Berlin Reified prompts me to notice, to photograph, to record. I did less of that then, and now, what I wouldn't do for a picture of the pocked facade at Oranienburger Straße 2, where I spent, perhaps, the happiest spring of my life, living in a room sub-sublet from the man who would go on to found Dr. Pong. And how I would like just one image of the crumbling brickwork at Gleimstraße where, one day, a brick dislodged itself and fell onto a passer-by, prompting a visit from the police.

It's not just the absence of a blog that stilled my hand, of course. Susan Sontag was right. I hesitated to photograph these places I loved because I hated to admit the transience of their beauty. To admit that facade was beautiful, to photograph it because I knew the scaffolding and the workmen were inevitable, would tempt fate, I feared, and would (I thought with some unreasonable superstition) hasten that pace of change.

You smirk, and the world smirked too. Now the facades are bright and neat, and my abstinence from photography failed to stay the renovations and gentrification that have rippled across the various streets where I lived. Instead I pore over photographs of places so recently changed and they wrench my heart, these photographs I could have taken. Slowly I realize each neighborhod has its lifespan, and I lift my head to fresh woods and pastures new.

I don't think to mention those places I found and delighted over so many years ago. Doesn't everyone know about RSVP? Yet working on my Berlin guide has meant revisiting old favorites while seeking out new treasures. Perhaps you don't know about RSVP, and would like to take a needle and pierce two points in a map of the world and bind them with a red string to connect yourself to that person you love above all else. RSVP is the place to find a postcard set, complete with needle and crimson thread, that will permit you to do this. The tidily designed shop is also stocked with Portuguese notebooks, Perugian woodcuts and exquisite little illustrations by Su-Pyo Lee.

RSVP, Mulackstr. 14 (map)
Open M-Sat noon - 7pm
Tel. (030) 280 94644



This post, thinking of the past in a way, the short life-span of many a thing - and the realization that everything will change, as you so correctly and wisely say. This reminds me of manufactum. They have a shop in Berlin, do you know it? You can find them on the net.

Thanks for reminding me to perceive even more.

Take care!

Yes, I'm finding it helpful to see that short lifespan as an impetus to savor and pay attention. Manufactum is an interesting place -- I've put it on my D*S list too.

Hi! I have been reading your blog for a while now and can i just say 3 words: i love it.
Love your pretty photography angles and your posts. I've checked out or two foodie recommendations based on what I've read here and it never fails to disappoint. looking forward to your Berlin Guide too!

Just a smile!
And - thought you might have manfactum on the list...
Really looking forward to your collection in Summer.


Nice description of the map postcards. If a postcard is too small, and you'd prefer a pillow, you can order one from Beton + Garten Verlag by Rita Zepf.


Miss D, you are such a sweetheart. Thanks for making my day!

Jo -- I just added it the other day, I keep thinking I've got the obvious ones down and then suddenly realize I've forgotten something. So, so much, really -- I'm thinking I should ask Grace if I can do Berlin East and Berlin West!

Leslie, thanks for the link to Rita's work!

Splitting might not be such a bad idea as somehow there is still such a difference between the kind of places that exist on either "side". Enjoy!!

This post tugs at my heart.

Luisa, you feel it too, yes? Rediscovering this post yesterday was bittersweet.

The comments to this entry are closed.