On Oranienstrasse, in the heart of Kreuzberg, photographer Maren Demant waits, ready, camera in hand to capture the faces of pedestrians who pass by. When an individual catches the young photographer’s attention, she asks to take their photo. This is part of one of her ongoing projects: Oranienstrasse. It’s a body of work that depicts the cultural diversity of Berlin on one of the city’s more well known streets.
"When I felt attracted to someone, I was asking if I could take their picture. For me it was interesting how the aura of the people develops in the photo as I just gave them three to four shots. They are pretty strong portraits that turned out."
But the project delved beyond simple aesthetics. It tapped into Demant's social curiosity – a need to gain insight into fellow Berliners.
"Oranienstrasse is a place of variety, right. I met so many different people. And so many different people told me in brief sentences their whole life stories. This is very nice as I like to explore human and humankind."
This desire to explore the world and people around her is what led Demant to pursue photography professionally. It is not just Berlin she is focused on: her art has also taken the photographer to Spain, New York, Paris, and even back to her small hometown of Wiesbaden.
"Photography is the door opener to see different worlds and get into these worlds. I am taking part for hours, weeks, into my projects. I can dive into different worlds."
Her family fostered her love for photography from an early age, with evenings in front of the projector to her first camera. It was an interest that quickly went from hobby to budding career."
"My father is a very good hobby photographer and so is my sister, so I was always confronting with photography, the medium. I studied economics once, but I was always photographing and I said, 'Okay this is actually what you do everyday and what you love to do, so do it forever and do it concrete.'”
When taking someone’s picture for the first time, whether for fashion or intimate portraiture, there is more to Demant's process than simply to focus and shoot.
"When I photograph people, for me, it is very nice to first just talk. I am really asking intense questions, I think. And I am really interested in this person and with knowing more about her or him."
Demant is interested in telling stories. With the cultural diversity of Oranienstrasse and her digital camera at hand, she works to portray individuals in a single frame. Demant's way to interact with the world.