1986 Marked the 25th Anniversary of Institutionalized Loss of Liberty Along the Berlin Wall

Alex Q. Arbuckle put together a photo essay of rare images from along the Berlin Wall circa 1986. The journey winds down the monotonous concrete monolith revealing life as subtly intertwined with its presence.

It was not just plants and buildings which took form around the rigid barrier, but human activity including swimming pool parties, ice fishing and kids running wild in nearby playgrounds. Between the feeling of isolation and the economic hardship in West Berlin, and the lack of freedom and general struggle in the East, it would be difficult to say that life was truly greener on either side. Instead what the photo series reveals is an underlying freedom which was indiscriminately desired by East and West—as evidenced by graffiti on the Wall and, and discrete expressions of chariness. See more in Mashable’s recent article.


“The wall went through several upgrades over the years. The final version, begun in 1975 and completed around 1980, was 12 feet high and topped with a smooth pipe to make it difficult to climb over.”

For more works from the curator, visit the homepage of photographer Alex Q. Arbuckle

Images: © Patrick PIEL/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

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