Art or not? Cabbie snaps topless female passengers

// World | Art or not? Cabbie snaps topless female passengers
Email to a friend Plain text Print version // Font size: Decrease font Enlarge font

"I didn't think I could become an up-and-coming artist at my old age," says taxi driver Hans-Jürgen Watzlawek, 68, whose photos of passengers' breasts have gone on display at a Berlin gallery.

By Carlo Angerer, NBC News

MUNICH, Germany – A Berlin taxi driver whose pictures of women exposing their breasts in the back of his cab are being displayed at a local art gallery insists that the black-and-white photographs are nice not naughty.

"It's not about eroticism or sex, but about the breast as a female attribute," cab-driver-turned-artist Hans-Jürgen Watzlawek told NBC News.

Known for its hip and cutting edge exhibitions and galleries, the Berlin art scene sees many edgy pieces of art. Nonetheless, in Europe's self-proclaimed art capital one can always find a new twist on modern art.

It all started four years ago on a night shift when a regular customer told Watzlawek that she suspected she was pregnant because her breasts had grown.

When he said he didn't believe her, she lifted her shirt and exposed her breasts. The cab driver, an avid amateur photographer who always carries a camera, asked if he could snap a picture. She agreed.

How does the 68-year-old explain this openness? 

"The cabin of a taxi has a certain intimacy, it's like in a confessional box," Watzlawek said. "Passengers often share their stories – especially during journeys at night."

So over the last four years, he took 50 pictures of topless women. They posed for him after he asked a few who showed an interest in his photography, Watzlawek said, who added that he had never photographed their faces.

Read more international stories on NBCNews.com

"The project lives on anonymity; no woman I have asked has ever complained of sexism," he said.

And he denied that some of the women were drunk when he pictured them, as tabloids have suggested.

About half of the passengers he asked to pose agreed to do so after he told them that he hoped to run an exhibition.

"I was surprised myself, but they told me that I seem trustworthy – maybe you could even call me a lady whisperer," he said.

'A provocation'
Compared to Berlin Art Week, which took place in the city's illustrious galleries earlier this month, Watzlawek's exhibition, which opened on September 20 at the Galeria Casablanca, is a low-key affair although it has attracted considerable attention.

Gallery owner Zoltan Labas said the show, "Flash Berlin 0.1", has been well-received, especially by women, but admits it has been controversial.

"Of course, it's a provocation and it touches the border between art and non-art," he said.

"While the breasts are in the center of the pictures, the backgrounds tell the stories," Labas added. "You see the clothes and posture of the women, or who else is sitting in the cab – at times it's the boyfriend or husband."

Read more stories from Germany on NBCNews.com

Watzlawek is not alone in his unconventional approach to routine places.

Recently, garbage collectors in Hamburg remade a waste container into a pinhole camera to snap the city's streets. It was a successful public relations stunt that won a silver lion at the Cannes International Advertising Festival.

Watzlawek, who is retired but returns to the steering wheel for a couple of nights each month, insists that his exhibition was not a public relations stunt.

"I just want to finance my expensive photography hobby which is difficult with my small pension," he said.

So after several decades working nights as a baker and cab driver he seems to have found his calling, although he doesn't think he's destined to become the next Damien Hirst or Andy Warhol.

"I didn't think I could become an up-and-coming artist at my old age," he said.

More world stories from NBC News:

Follow World News from NBCNews.com on Twitter and 

Tagged : No tags for this article

Headlines Newsview all

Popular Musician Feyisayo Mojisola Oyetade Dies On Child Naming Ceremony Day

A popular hip-hop singer has died on the naming day of her 8-day-old baby boy. The singer, Feyisayo Mojisola Oyetade, who is a popular singer in ... Full story

Husband Snatching Mess: Femi Anibaba's Wife Tells Ronke Odusanya She Can Have Her Husband

Folape Sokoya, wife of Femi Anibaba, the man Ronke Odusanya was accused to have snatched, has finally spoken on the issue and has also wished ...

Boko Haram divided over peace talks with the Federal Government

Following the ceasefire deal the Federal Government entered into with Boko Haram, the violent fundamentalist sect has split into two. While one faction wants peace, ...

Dilish Mattews - The Truth About My Affair With Edo State Governor

Pretty and sexy Dillish Mathews, became famous when she made it to the top and announced the winner of the 2013 edition of Big Brother ...

Stephen Keshi expected in Ethiopia for contract talks

Former Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi, is expected in Ethiopia this week to finalise discussions with the country’s FA on the vacant national team job, ...

Boko Haram captures another town in Borno State

Suspected members of the terrorist sect, Boko Haram, have captured another Borno town, Abadam, after laying a massive siege to it. It was gathered from security ...

Over 3,000 Students Fail Bar Exam At Nigerian Law School

Apparently there was mass failure at the Nigerian Law School this year. The Nigerian Law School recently released the 2013/2014 August result, and it was ... Full story

Boko Haram Militants To Release 218 Chibok Girls Monday

There are strong indications that the 218 schoolgirls abducted six months ago in Chibok, Borno State, by the violent Boko Haram sect may be released ... Full story

Ella Matins - After Dating a President, I Can’t Date an Ordinary Man

Top Beninoise musician and actress, Ella Matins, has revealed that her embarrassing moment in life was when she performed alongside DJ Arafat and during the ... Full story

Boko Haram’s Danladi Ahmadu Negotiates Cease-Fire

Islamist militant group Boko Haram is in talks with the federal government to release more than 200 girls abducted six months ago and negotiate a ...

Nigerian man in Malaysia jumps to his death trying to escape from police

A Nigerian man named Osazuwa allegedly jumped to his death from a 15-storey building on Monday October 13th as police stormed a place he was ...

Comment on: Art or not? Cabbie snaps topless female passengers

Rate this article

0

Featured author

Reinetta Zachary

Breaking News

Uche Jombo Adds Weight In New Pictures

Prolific Nollywood actress, Uche Jombo seems to have added more weight, according to latest photographs of hers on the internet.The talented actress attended a movie ...

Tiwa Savage Removes Wedding Ring

It has been observed by Nigeriafilms.com from a latest picture of Tiwa Savage posted by the singer on one of her social media pages that ...

Pictures Of What Dudes Rocked To 2014 Nollywood Movies Awards

Movie practitioners in Nigeria gathered once again to celebrate the best among best at the 3rd annual Nollywood Movies Awards (NMA). The glamorous and colourful ...

Questionable Dress Styles At Genevieve Pinkball Foundation Event [Pictures]

‘The way you are dressed is how you will be addressed’, so says a popular saying and for this reason, in trying to imitate fashion ...

Nigeria Declared Ebola Free By WHO

Following a 42-day period without any new cases of Ebola in Nigeria, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the country Ebola free.Nigeria first recorded ...

Desperation Is The Cause Of Marriage Failures In Nollywood—Fidelis Duker

Ace Nigerian filmmaker, Fidelis Duker, has said one of the reasons marriages of entertainers don’t last is the inability to do thorough research on the ...

Airtel Frustrates Cossy Orjiakor

One of the telecoms operators in Nigeria, Airtel, seems to be having a serious issue with controversial Nigerian entertainer, Cossy Orjiakor, who is well known ...

Ngozi Ezeonu Throws Superlative Ceremony For Mum’s Burial [Pictures]

Last Friday, popular Nollywood actress, Ngozi Ezeonu gave her late mother a befitting burial in Anambra State. The event was attended by several associates of ...

Ann Njemanze New Glowing Look

Ann Njemanze, the Nollywood star who also plays the role of Inspector Sankey, a very annoying but insistent sleuth on M-Net’s popular soap, Tinsel now ...

How JJC Romantic Affair With Stylist-Turned Lover Crashed

He started out as a music producer, but when it was time to kick off his career as a rapper, Abudulrasheed Bello chose to be ...