Only in Berlin: a red carpet event in a car wash.
Apparently, Breaking Bad is such a spectacularly superlatively fantastic show that its finale deserved a red carpet of its own put on by AXN, a Sony channel in Germany, which was airing the show. And that finale deserved a car wash.
Reading that it would be in Cosy Wasch near Ostbahnhof (a train station) – an area smattered with clubs like Berghain in abandoned factory buildings, power plants, and whatever else was lying around when the wall fell – I assumed it was in an abandoned car wash. I should have known better. After all, cars were a luxury in the days of the East. The Breaking Bad finale was aired in a completely functional car wash.
Other than some corporate execs and a couple of moderators there wasn’t anyone there to do with the show. But to set the scene, they transformed the track for cars into a living room and the side rooms into a meth-lab-lookalike. I felt at home shooting here. No, while it is hard to earn a living as a photographer I’m not cooking meth on the side. But the equipment and room were similar enough to the micro-distilleries which I’ve photographed that I could just jump in and get to work without having to scout.
The only person there who seemed to have anything to do with the show itself was actually just part of the events team, so he was checking off the guest list and making sure VIPs were comfy. But fans of the show might have to look twice. When things got quieter later on, he and anyone else really could strike a pose.
Though usually these red carpet events are alternatively stressful and boring, this one was a lot of fun. Walter White up there isn’t the only one who got to play with props. Sunglasses, hats, bag o drugs, fake money, teddy bears – it was all there. Here are the kinds of shots that got printed the next day:
But for your BTS look, a lot of people were not having it. Some were – clearly Oliver in the above shot was enjoying himself. Others were, well, prompted to do so. Model Sophia Thomalla wasn’t interested, but at least one photographer saw to it that he got a shot with her and the props. Here is the photographer, handing Sophia a pile of fake money and instructing her on throwing it.
Beyond the staged red carpet, though, the scenery really was cool. And somewhat creepy. I’ll close with a shot in a side room of the car wash – there are windows on the left through which you can see a car being washed or a series finale being screened. They lit it neon green, thoroughly weird. After a few shots failed to capture the mood, I put a 1/4 CTO gel on my flash and set the white balance to flash (daylight). The idea was to saturate the greens but give a warm hint to that creepy doll thing to add some contrast. Worked. And an LED gave an extra hint of red onto the turtle, which I hadn’t even noticed before I checked the shot.