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

70% of candidates fail 2014 WASSCE

Of the 246,853 candidates who sat for the November/December 2014 West African Senior School Certificate Examination, only 72,522 candidates, representing 29.37 per cent, obtained credits ... Full story

Mr. Ibu Shows Off Massive Weight Loss In New Photos

Well, Mr. Ibu seems to have lost quite a lot of weight lately! Most likely for height reasons, he's channelling Rick Ross ... Full story

Boko Haram Kill 32; Kidnap 185 Women And Children In Borno

Multiple sources have it that Boko Haram, the deadly sect waging an insurgency against the state have killed 32 people in Borno State, and kidnapped ... Full story

Alhaji Bappa Tilde, Ex-Bauchi Accountant-General Shot Dead

Former Accountant-General of Bauchi State, Alhaji Bappa Tilde who was abducted last Saturday has been killed. According to residents, Tilde, 72, was brought by his abductors ... Full story

Inmate dies in prison after six adjournments to his trial

A man who was remanded in prison for attempting to steal his brother's money from an ATM has died due to the ineptitude of prison ... Full story

Seyi Shay Grabs Wizkid's Crotch in New Video

So, Seyi Shay and Wizkid featured in this new video titled 'Crazy', and Seyi Shay seems to have done something very crazy; she grabbed Wizkid's ... Full story

Couple tortured by police sue for N100m

The couple brutalized by a police corporal in Lagos, Ejeh and Grace Smith, is suing the police authorities for damages. The Lagos couple that was brutalized ... Full story

Boko Haram Abducts 185 Women, Kills 32

Boko Haram insurgents kidnapped at least 185 women and children, and killed 32 people in a raid in northeastern Nigeria this week, local officials and ... Full story

Gospel Musician Kenny Saint Brown Says APC Stole Her Mandate For Lai Mohammaed's Son

Gospel singer, Kenny Saint Brown does not believe she lost out in the APC primary elections but rather her mandate was stolen Gospel singer, Kenny Saint ... Full story

Boko Haram Threatens To Attack Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II

Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, has threatened to attack the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, in retaliation for the Emir’s call on Kano residents ...

Police arrest power-drunk cop’s team members in the Lekki area of Lagos State

The police have arrested other six cops at the scene of the torture of a couple in the Lekki area of Lagos State. A police source ... Full story

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

Rate this article

0

Breaking News

AGN President, Ibinabo Gushes over Husband after Stepping out of Church (Photos)

‘He, who finds a wife, finds a good thing and obtains favour from the Lord.’ This is the current tale of Actors Guild of Nigeria’s ...

Photos From Daystar Christain Centre Christmas Carol

Members, friends and families worshiped God in an atmosphere of joy and laughter on Sunday December 14th at one of the most anticipated Carol Concerts, ...

If Your Wife Was Fat, You Wouldn’t Have Married Her…..Fan Blast Paul Okoye

Social media banters has hit Nigeria’s adored singer, Paul Okoye after he posted a picture of girl who attempts to use scissors to cut her ...

Why My Marriage Crashed – Alex Okoroji

Alex Okoroji, daughter of ex-musician and PMAN President, Chief Tony Okoroji has revealed why her marriage crashed like a tokunbo car engine. The actress confessed that ...

Married Chief Tony Okoroji's Daughter Back To Spinsterhood

While some celebrities are happily tying the knots in 2014, others are as well walking out of their marriages and long relationships. The latest to return ...

VIDEO: Daddy Showkey ft. HarrySong – Asalamabeez

Story by Nigeriafilms.com Last Updated:7 minutes ago Brand new visual from Nigerian music icon, Daddy Showkey. He teams up with Five Star Music’s HarrySong on this one. ...

Exclusive Marriage Update: AGN President, Ibinabo Finally Signs Marriage Documents

Nigeriafilms.com correspondent at the ongoing White wedding of the Actors Guild of Nigeria’s President, Ibinabo Fiberesima, says the wedding has commenced immediately after the marriage ...

Oil workers suspend nationwide strike

Oil workers under the Petroleum and Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) and the National Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Worker (NUPENG) ...

Onigbinde urges Keshi to quit Eagles

Former Nigeria coach, Adegboye Onigbinde, said he has personally written to out of contract Super Eagles coach, Stephen Keshi, to quietly seek greener pastures elsewhere.Several ...

Pastors Are Ogboni Members – Otunba Meshioye

OTUNBA-FRACIS-OLUWAGBENRO Otunba Francis Meshioye, Olori Oluwo of the Reformed Ogboni Fraternity (ROF) made some revelations recently. The supreme leader of Ogboni in Nigeria said some popular ...