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

I Only Prefer Younger Men - Elvina Ibru

“I only date younger men! I'm not interested in older men. One of the reasons is that they are all married, and secondly they all ... Full story

Barack Obama Praises GEJ For Accepting Defeat In Elections

US president Barack Obama has praised outgoing president Goodluck Jonathan, for conceding defeat in the recently concluded presidential elections. USA Today reports that Obama gave the ... Full story

Nigerian President-Elect, Muhammadu Buhari Hails His Victory As A Vote For Change Video

The winner of Nigeria's presidential poll, Muhammadu Buhari, has hailed his victory as a vote for change and proof the nation has embraced democracy. Mr Buhari ... Full story

Wind Of Change Can Blow You Out If You Don't Do Well - Seun Kuti To Buhari

Late Fela Anikulapo’s son, Seun Kuti took to twitter this morning to commend the youths for voting for change, and also warned the newly elected ... Full story

Baby With Elephant Trunk Worshipped As God

A baby girl born with an “elephant trunk” is being worshipped as a Hindu god in a village in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, in northern India.The ... Full story

Olusegun Obasanjo Cheer Buhari, Assign Him On Reunion

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo who has publicly shown his support for Major-General Muhammadu Buhari ahead of the elections, has congratulated him over his victory. In a ... Full story

I Kept My Word On Violent Free Elections - Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has told his supporters and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to rather celebrate and not mourn because he has kept his word ... Full story

Goodluck Jonathan Concedes Defeat, Congratulates Buhari

President Goodluck Jonathan has congratulated the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), on his victory in the Saturday’s presidential election. A top ... Full story

Muhammadu Buhari Wins Nigeria's 2015 Presidential Election

Election commission declares victory for former military ruler, Muhammadu Buhari, over incumbent Goodluck Jonathan. Nigeria's election commission has declared Muhammadu Buhari the winner of the country's ... Full story

Analyst Project Muhammadu Buhari As President-Elect With 95% Polling Units Collated

Political Analyst project Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as the winner of last weekend’s presidential election based on collated poll results from ... Full story

PDP Wins Presidential Elections In Rivers State

Prof. John is RO of Rivers state LGAs: 23 NO of POLITICAL PARTIES: 14 REG. VOTERS: 2,324,300 ACCR VOTERS: 1,643,409 AA: 1066 AD: 1104 ACPN:525 ADC:1031 APA:513 APC:69,238 CPP:577 HOPE:542 KOWA:2274 NCP:565 PDP:1,487,075 PPN:492 UDP:303 UPP:156   ... Full story

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

Rate this article

0

Breaking News

Gareth Bale Becomes Fastest Player On Earth (FULL LIST)

Former Tottenham Hotspur player and wales man has been name as the fastest player on earth, beating Rinaldo, Theo Walcott and others …. See full list ... Full story

Ships With Petroleum Products Arrive Lagos Ports

Eight ships laden with petrol, aviation fuel and kerosene had arrived Lagos ports, waiting to berth. The Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) stated this in its daily ... Full story

CONGRATULATION GEN. BUHARI MUHAMMADU, NIGERIANS AWAITS CHANGE!

Men make history and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders ...

We Will Miss Our First Lady...Emma Nyra

Triple MG first lady, Emma Nyra has congratulated Nigerians for a peaceful conduct for the attainment of another democratic era in 2015. Emma who joins the ...

Internet better in promoting songs than marketers--Artiste

An artiste, Mr Aginam Benjamin, says the use of the internet to promote songs is better than using marketers. Benjamin told the News Agency of Nigeria ...

Davido’S Uncle Wins Senatorial Seat In Osun State

A super wealthy family Indeed. Former governor of Osun State, Isiaka Adeleke has won the Osun West senatorial district, reports National Mirror. Adeleke, who is also ...

2face Praises GMB, GEJ and Jega Over Election Success

As the chairman of the Independent National Electorial Commission (INEC) finally announced the winner of the 2015 Presidential elections, many encomiums have continued to come ...

Omoni Oboli Congratulates Nigerians After Supporting GEJ

How many Nigerian celebrities would like to be Mrs Elliot? Well, it seems the tone of Nolllywood actors who supported the President Jonathan led administration ...

Jonathan Paved Way For Transparent Democracy—Charles Novia

Nollywood producer and social commentator, Charles Novia, has hailed President Goodluck Jonathan for strengthening democracy in the country. The controversial showbiz personality said he never regretted ...

We Will Miss GEJ’s Gentle Attitude...Okey Bakassi

Many Nollywood actors have began accepting their fate on the outcome of the 2015 Presidential election result by INEC as they gradually sum up the ...