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

Saudi Prince Announces He Will Give His Entire $32 Billion Fortune Away To Charity

A Saudi Arabian billionaire is planning on giving his entire $32billion (£20bn) fortune to charity. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, one of the richest men in the ... Full story

Nigeria's Fake Doctors Exposed - Al Jazeera Video

Fake Doctors Exposed Please watch and share to create awareness, and possibly save lives.   ... Full story

Patience's Ex Security Aide Killed Because Of The Secrets He Knew

According to Leadership, the assassination of former first lady Patience Jonathan's ex-security aide had to do with his previous job with the presidency. DSP Tamuno Igbomie, ... Full story

Why I Named My Son Ace - IK Ogbonna

Ik Ogbonna has named his son Ace..He explains the reason behind the name.. “I got a few emails asking me why I chose Ace for my ... Full story

Nigerian Customs Men Looked Aways As Smugglers Battered Me - Yomi Olomofe

The journalist who was beaten black and blue by suspected smugglers has revealed some men of the Nigerian customs looked on without intervening ..At about ... Full story

Man Spends N5million On Drinks In A Lagos Club (See Receipt)

A popular South Africa-based Nigerian man called King Jide aka the Mayor of Capetown spent N5million on 30 Ace of Spades and 1 Dom Perignon ... Full story

Former Aviation Minister, Fani-Kayode Cleared Of Corruption Charges

A Federal High Court in Lagos has discharged and acquitted a former aviation minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, of corruption charges. In her judgment, the judge, Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, ... Full story

Biography Of Mrs Aisha Buhari, Wife Of The President Of Nigeria

Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari is the Wife of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, General Muhammadu Buhari, who was elected at the last ... Full story

Nigerian Man Jumps To His Death During Police Chase In Malaysia

A Nigerian man simply identified as Chinedu (pictured above) died this week after jumping from the 3rd floor of his apartment building at Mutari Sadangi ... Full story

Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso Seeks Court Injuction To Escape EFCC Arrest

Former Governor of Kano State and now a serving senator, Alhaji Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, has sought refuge in a High Court sitting in Gezawa for ... Full story

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Denies Spending Excess Crude Account Funds Without Authorization

The allegation by some governors that a former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, spent $2.1 billion out of the Excess Crude Account “without authorization” is ... Full story

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

Rate this article

0

Breaking News

Trailer Of Mum, Dad Meet Sam Starring Joseph Benjamin Video

Check Out The Trailer Of ‘Mum, Dad Meet Sam’ Starring Joseph Benjamin   ...

I Am Not Threatened By Younger Colleagues - Ali Baba

One of the most respected comedians in Nigeria, Ali Baba was a year older some days back and he was hosted to various parties by ...

Fuel Queues Returns In Abuja

Fuel scarcity, Tuesday resurfaced in Abuja, with long queues at almost all the petrol stations, as motorists faced slight difficulties in buying the commodity. This was ...

CBN Adjusts Forex Peg As Naira Hits 228

The Central Bank of Nigeria on Tuesday lowered the naira peg to 196.95 against the dollar from 196.90 it set last week. This made it the ...

Clive Omoniyi Emerges PENGASSAN NLNG Branch Chairman

The Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria has elected Clive Omoniyi as the Chairman of the Nigeria LNG branch of the association. A ...

GTBANK: Serial Debtor Or Killer Of Businesses?

The silent rule of responsibility has always hammered on the fact that, ‘to whom much is given, much is expected’ and this takes us straight ...

Customers Panic As Enterprise Bank Loses Database To Hackers

Enterprise Bank is a bank with few branches located across Nigeria, meanwhile, it’s obvious why they don’t have branches abroad. A bank whom can’t secure or ...

Ghanaian Sulley Muntari And AC Milan Terminate Ties

Former Portsmouth and Inter Milan midfielder Sulley Muntari is set to depart AC Milan following termination of his contract by mutual consent. The Ghanaian joined the ... Full story

Manchester United Have Not Made A Serious Bid For Schneiderlin - Ronald Koeman

Southampton manager, Ronald Koeman insists the club are yet to receive any “serious” offer for Morgan Schneiderlin this summer. The midfielder has been linked with a ... Full story

Sultry Actress, Georgina Onuoha Returns To Nigeria, Floats New Business

Georgina Onuoha, an actress in Nollywood, is delighted to be back to Nigeria after travelling to the United States of America (USA) with her children. She ...