′Lost in music′…quite literally | Music | DW | 12.04.2013
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'Lost in music'…quite literally

Thousands flock to Berlin each year for the nightlife. But while the kind of people who party in Germany’s capital says a lot about the club scene, so, too, do the items they leave behind, as one photographer found out.

Ragnar Schmuck is one of Berlin's leading lights when it comes to photography, and his portfolio includes a diverse range of images. From dynamic sports shots for soccer publication 11 Freunde to celebrity faces for the likes of Vanity Fair and Cosmopolitan; cutting edge cityscapes for Architectural Digest to the heavyweights of the music world for De:Bug and Intro.

But his latest assignment for electronic music publication Groove was something different. Commissioned by the magazine's editor, Heiko Hoffmann, Ragnar was sent to seven of the most popular clubbing venues in Berlin – //:about blank, Berghain, Horst Kreuzberg, Kater Holzig, Wilde Renate, Weekend and Watergate - to create a photo series documenting lost property.

The series, 'Lost in Clubs', offers a snapshot not only of the city's key venues, but also aims to quirkily profile clubbers in Germany's capital by taking a look at some of the items they forget to take home with them.

Ragnar Schmuck spoke to DW about the project and kindly allowed us to publish all seven images from the series in the picture gallery below.

DW: So what were the most surprising pieces of lost property you found?

Ragnar Schmuck: Porsche car keys, ballet shoes…and pliers!

And which items turned up the most often?

Probably jumpers followed by keys, glasses and wallets.

From the items that were left behind, what did you learn about Berlin clubbers?

I think it's a sign of a great party that you forget everything around you and can't remember anything later. But of course you learn something about the individuals. From people's ID cards or passports, for example, you see just how international the Berlin club scene is. And then the items also say something about personal taste.

So what kind of concept did you have in mind when you approached the photoshoot?

One constant element was to shoot everything from the same perspective in the corner of the club so that there is a uniformity to the series. But that's also because the corners of a room are usually where things are found. I also tried to make each venue recognizable to the people who regularly go there and already know what the club looks like. The pictures were also very carefully staged and lit as I didn't want it to look like documentary photography.

Ragnar Schmuck (c) Ragnar Schmuck

Photograper Ragnar Schmuck

What was your working schedule like? Did you have to start work at 7am when the party was over?

No, actually I was very surprised to find out just how carefully clubs look after lost property, so it wasn't a problem to set up the shootings through the day. That's maybe something else people don’t realize; people are working behind the scenes in clubs all the time.

And as far as bizarre lost property is concerned, what is the craziest club in Berlin?

Well, that's something I think the viewer should decide for themselves. It’s precisely why I made the pictures in the first place.

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