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

Cossy Orjiakor: I Am Looking For Husband

Highly endowed controversial Nollywood actress, Cossy Orjiakor, has made it known that she is looking for a husband. The actress, who does not see any big ... Full story

OMG!! African Village Where Dead Children Are Made Into Voodoo Dolls (Photos)

Raising twins is never easy but in Benin, an poor nation on the west coast of Africa, hardship means many die during childhood. Now a ... Full story

Burna Boy And Cynthia Morgan Caught Kissing (Photo)

The Nigerian dancehall queen, Cynthia Morgan, has kept her relationship status a secret until recently when rumours linked her with fellow dancehall singer, Burna Boy. The ... Full story

Shocking!! Vigilance Group Uncovers Naked Female Dancers Joint In Asaba

An Asaba-based vigilance group has uncovered a joint where female teenagers dance naked and has arrested the operator of the joint. The joint, located in Asaba, ... Full story

OMG!! Church Of Pentecost Sunday School Teacher Caught Acting Porn In Italy

Church Of Pentecost Sunday School Teacher Caught Acting Porn In Italy ... Full story

Kanye West Announces He Wants To Run For Presidency In 2020

Kanye West says he is running for president in 2020. But could he do it harder, better, faster, stronger than everyone else?  The rapper made his announcement ...

EFCC Sets Up 4 Man Panel To Probe Former Minister Of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has commenced a full investigation into the activities of the immediate past Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, ...

P-Square involved in a ghastly auto crash on their way back from a concert in Ibadan

Peter and Paul Okoye of the popular pop duo, Psquare, on Sunday, escaped death by whiskers in a ghastly auto-crash along the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway. The Sensational ...

Fresh trouble for Goodluck Jonathan and Alison-Madueke

As president Muhammadu Buhari continues his anti-corruption fight, fresh trouble is already brewing up for the Goodluck Jonathan administration, as the probe of the past ...

Nigerian Air Force Plane Crash In Kaduna Leaves Seven Dead

A plane belonging to the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) air crashed Saturday morning at the old Nigeria Defense Academy (NDA) in Kaduna also known as ...

Can You Imagine!! Why I Am Unmarried - Dbanj

Dbanj has revealed why he stalled his plans to get married at 30.The singer who has been linked to several beauties revealed to Saturday Beats… “While ... Full story

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

Rate this article

0

Breaking News

Cristiano Ronaldo Spends £20,000 On Waxwork Of Himself (Photos)

Football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo has spent £20,000 on a waxwork of himself to take pride of place in his Spanish mansion. The Real Madrid player paid ... Full story

Tonto Dikeh Reveals Her Engagement Ring Costs Over 12 Million Naira (Do You Agree?)

For the past few weeks, Nollywood actress, has been trending due to his marriage brouhaha.Just yesterday, her Mr. X, Oladunni Churchill, stormed to her hometown ...

Liz Benson, Shan George, Other Nollywood Actresses Visit New Rivers State Governor (Photos)

It was a filled and joyful sunday service at Obudu Cattle Ranch as Nollywood veteran actresses, Liz Benson, Shan George, actresses Halima Abubakar and ChaCha ...

Top 5 Celebrity Couples 2015

The year is fast coming to an end and there are couples in the industry that have either been seen on the red carpet together ...

Pastor Bakare's First Daughter Weds In London

The first daughter of Pastor Tunde Bakare, Olubunmi walked down the aisle with her heartthrob, Olaoluwa Fabode on Saturday, August 29. A number of popular faces ...

Shocking!! Liverpool 0-3 West Ham

A blistering start by West Ham United at Liverpool culminated in a stunning 3-0 victory on the road for Slaven Bilic’s men. Philipe Coutinho and Mark ... Full story

Heavily Pregnant Mercy Johnson And Hubby Loved Up On Her Birthday (Photos)

A stunning and pregnant Mercy Johnson celebrated her birthday with her husband and kids . She looks amazing! ... Full story

So Touching! Story Of The Childhood Friend Who Made Cristiano Ronaldo Famous

Cristiano Ronaldo has given his old friend and former football teammate, Albert Fantrau a special recognition publicly after recounting how he sacrificed his own football ... Full story

Real Love Comes With A Choice Not A Chance

When all the butterflies have fluttered away and your wedding day becomes a distant memory, you will discover that you’ve married someone who is just ...

Shocking!! She Said I Am Not The Father Of 2 Our Children - James Adedapo

Mr James Adedapo, a retired civil servant has got a nod for his divorce suit against his wife, Oluwatoyin, at the Grade ‘C’ Customary Court ...