BERLIN, Germany -- An exhibit featuring photographs of bare-breasted females taken by a smooth-talking career taxi driver in Berlin has attracted a surprising amount of attention in the avant-garde European capital, according to Der Spiegel.
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But lest one jump to lecherous conclusions, photographer Hans-Jürgen Watzlawek told Spiegel the topless modeling was not his idea...at first.
"It all began when I picked up one of my regulars and she confided in me that she thought she was pregnant," Watzlawek wrote in the notes to the new "naked at night in a taxi" exhibit, according to Spiegel. "'My breasts are so big,' she said, and proceeded to pull up her top to show me. I'd never seen them before, so I couldn't tell if they were bigger than usual or not."
"'Fantastic breasts!'" the 67-year-old responded, according to Spiegel, proceeding to request a photo.
The encounter inspired Watzlawek, a taxi driver since 1998, to pursue a full-fledged photography project on the subject.
Participant Clara Held told the daily Berliner Zeitung Watzlawek was so "charismatic" that it only took a few minutes to convince her to participate, reported Der Spiegel.
But even with his reportedly charming ways, Watzlawek's search for women of willing bosom took four years.
In total, 40 women agreed to be photographed for the "Flash Berlin 0.1" project, which you can preview at TIP Berlin here.
The result is a series of black-and-white photos featuring "two, four, or even six breasts," according to a review in Frankfurter Rundschau (note: English translation via GoogleTranslate), some with "small curves and big, dark, light nipples without piercing, some with scars testify to breast augmentation."
Apparently, early German reports on the exhibit at Berlin's Galarie Casablanca incorrectly reported that the women featured in it were drunk when the pictures were taken, said Der Spiegel, which may account for some of the ruckus.
But curators told Spiegel the show also raises the inevitable "what is art?" question.
Does it? Not for Watzlawek, who doesn't think his work is art, describing it as "something in-between."
"They're very powerful, and it's the details that are intriguing," he told Spiegel, adding inscrutably, "The breasts are just incidental."