Photographers' Blog

The Faces of Merkel

By Thomas Peter

The Bundestag in Berlin, session 188. The plenum below the grand glass dome of the Reichstag building is buzzing with the voices of lawmakers who are to vote today on the ratification of Europe’s permanent bailout mechanism.

News photographers pluck the occasional picture from among the crowd with a timid click of their cameras. But everyone is waiting for Chancellor Angela Merkel.

A summit of EU leaders in Brussels has finished only hours earlier. A summit that Ms Merkel left as the defeated, after Spain and Italy cornered her into budging to their demand to use EU rescue fund money for the direct recapitalisation of banks, something that thus far had been a red rag for Germany.

How would Ms Merkel sell the outcome of the summit to the house? Curiosity is running high on the two tightly packed media balconies overlooking the floor. TV cameras and batteries of photographers’ super-tele lenses are trained at the spot where Angela Merkel will appear any minute.

Then she emerges from the back corridor, dressed in a brightly colored blazer, her gait determined, heading straight for the company of a party fellow. A cacophony of rattling camera shutters accompanies her every step. Their hysteric sound of high-tech metal slapping against metal flutters from the press balcony across the entire plenum and cannot escape the attention of the person down below who is being captured in this moment. But Angela Merkel is too much of a professional to allow her composure to slip.

Carnival in Germany, when everything is upside down

By Kai Pfaffenbach

We Germans (at least most of us) seem to be well organized, diligent, reliable, politically correct and ready to help, even with our money. But there is one thing we Germans are prejudiced for – our lack of humor.

It looks like for that reason “Carnival” was invented.

Okay, that’s not true. About 600 years ago, people started big celebrations for the last days before Ash Wednesday and the end of the Christian period of fasting. To get better control of those festivities authorities “organized” Carnival. Over the years it became more and more popular to wear funny costumes.

As people behind masks cannot be easily recognized, the “Political Carnival” was invented and in the city of Mainz (the capital of Germany’s state of Rhineland Palatinate) the Rose Monday parade was used to disparage politicians since 1843.

  • Editors & Key Contributors