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

Bomb Explosion In Kaduna Leaves Many Dead!

An explosion has occurred in central Kaduna killing at least 10 people, a witness has said. The blast occurred Wednesday afternoon along Isa Kaita road which ...

Nollywood Actress Bukky Wright’s Second Marriage Crashes

It appears that the second marriage of popular Nollywood actress, Bukky Wright with her husband, Adewale Onitiri, has crashed. Reports say the couple almost ended the ...

Boko Haram Beheads Nigerian Air Force Officer - Very Disturbing Video Video

A disturbing video which showed a Nigerian Naval officer identified as Umar Abubakar being interrogated and later gruesomely murdered by Boko Haram men in Borno ... Full story

Popular Nigerian Pastor Chris Okotie Shows Off N400m fleet of cars

No doubt, the ageless multi award winning pop Musician, Chris Okotie; now known as Rev. Chris Okotie is a very wealthy man; who loves seeing ... Full story

Charles Okonkwo Jr., Nigerian in New York arrested after killing brother, beating respected doctor mother into a coma

Charles Okonkwo Jr., a Long Island, New York, teenager with a history of psychiatric problems killed his 15-year old brother and brutally beat his mother ... Full story

Parents Of Abducted Chibok Girls Arrive At Presidential Villa

Parents of the school girls that were abducted from Government Girls Secondary School, Chibok , Borno State on April 14, by the dreaded terrorist group, ... Full story

Sulaiman Abdulkarim Isah, Nigerian Man Wins Dubai International Holy Quran Award

A Nigerian man, Sulaiman Abdulkarim Isah has been announced winner of the 18th session of the Dubai International Holy Quran Award which was concluded on ... Full story

Rilwanu Lukman, Former Minister Of Petroleum Dead At 76

Former Minister of Petroleum, Dr. Rilwanu Lukman, is dead. He died this morning in Austria at the age of 76. Lukman, who was born in Zaria, ...

Samuel Kayode, Nigerian Pastor In UK Commits The Biggest Education Fraud In UK History

An accountant at a chain of academies championed by Michael Gove is at the centre of a fraud investigation after £4million of school funds ended ... Full story

Oby Ezekwesili Harassed By Security Operatives At Abuja Airport

Operatives of the Department of State Security this morning seized the international passport of the Coordinator of the BringBackOurGirls group and former Minister of Education, ...

Armed robbers attack Sambo’s wife aide, killing two

Armed robbers on Sunday took over the Kaduna-Abuja Express way unleashing terrors on motorists/passengers, leading to death of two persons. Also, a health practitioner in Kaduna, ...

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

Rate this article

0

Featured author

chuky01

Breaking News

Iyabo Ojo ‘Abandons’ Movie Set For Graduation Party

Nollywood actress, Iyabo Ojo, who has been very busy on a movie set, took some time off to show affection for her cousin and nephew ...

I’m Not Dating Ramsey Nuoah—Ghanaian Actress Cries Out

Fast-rising Ghanaian actress, Emmanuela Mendoza, better known as Ella Mensah, has denied speculations making the rounds that she was dumped out of Ghanaian movies by ...

I knew I was going to emerge the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria 2014 – Iheoma Nnadi

The ‘Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria’ MBGN, 2014, Miss Iheoma Nnadi has stated that she had always known she would win the MBGN title.The 19-year-old ...

EXCLUSIVE: 9ice Furious Over Wedding Reports

Top Nigerian music artiste, 9ice, seems to be angry and would not want to entertain any question from the media concerning reports him getting married ...

Selecting A Perfect Eye Shadow For Your Makeup

Eye shadows have been a long lasting trend amongst ladies. It does not only add colour to the face, but also curves the eye shape ...

US Model At War With Tania Over Wizkid

Reports making the rounds is that a US-based Nigerian model named Caroline Ikpea is not at loggerheads with Tania Omotayo, girlfriend of wave making Nigerian ...

Danger Of Celebrities Posting Pictures Of Maids Online

It is gradually becoming a trend for Nigerian celebrities to show off their domestic staff on the internet through social media platforms like Instagram and ...

Video: Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde Has the Sexiest Accent in Nollywood?

Jordan Burchette noted the 12 sexiest accents in the world for CNN Travel on November 30, 2012, and he ranked the Nigerian accent as the ...

Genevieve Nnaji announces 18year old aspiring actress, Bola Suru as winner of “Act The Part” online contest

Genevieve Nnaji has announced the winner of the “Act the part” online contest, which kicked off three weeks ago as 18year old aspiring actress, Bola ...

Photos: Jonathan in Close Door Meeting with Parents of Chibok Girls

Earlier today, it was reported that thebparents of abducted Chibok girls will meet with President Jonathan on Tuesday, July 22nd. They finally the president had ...