Doorman Turned Photographer Sven Marquardt on Why He’s Strict at the Club Entrance
The world's most notorious bouncer is the key for you to get into Berlin's famed Berghain nightclub. Sven Marquardt discusses how techno helped to shape post-wall Berlin and why he's so strict at the door.This article originally appeared on Preen
A new exhibit at Pineapple Lab entitled “Club Berlin: An Exhibit on Electronic Music & Photography” might be confusing to some people. Why glorify places of revelry and parties filled with rebellious people? What’s the art in that?
For people like Sven Marquardt writer, photographer, and head doorman at Berlin’s famous Berghain, the nightlife is representative of the freedom that never came in the sunlight. He had witnessed how techno and clubs helped create unity in Germany after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In the Berlin underground scene, he took photos of people he felt representative of the changing tide. “My photographs have always been influenced by the people who I would see. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, there was a lot of anarchy but it became also an inspiration for me. Something was happening, there was a change that would make everything different.”
His black and white portraitures expose people covered in tattoos, decked out in S&M-like garb, with piercing eyes and exotic characteristics that foretells of non-German roots. Sven himself is also a caricature of sorts: long white hair tied back to reveal tattoos crawling up from his neck to his temple. Thick skull rings on every other finger and multiple chains around his neck that would put DJ Khaled to shame. Often, he is asked about the political statement behind his photographs with the context of his roots, he gives a soft answer though. “I don’t know if my photographs are political, they are very personal and have always been something I knew [I needed to do].”
“Nope, ” he also says point blank when asked if he believes that Berghain became famous across the globe because of him. “I don’t like to think of it that way.” The club however became very influential in his photographs. “I was never allowed to photograph inside the club to protect the people that were partying. I would take photos of the records, sometimes the DJs and even cupboards. That’s how I started.”