He is Berlin’s most famous bouncer and his face is a mosaic of tattoos and steel rings which have been punched into his lips, nose and earlobes.
At 52, Sven Marquardt is old enough to be the father of most of the ravers he admits or turns away from Berlin’s renowned Berghain Techno club. Now, after more than a decade of “bouncing”, Marquardt has written his autobiography. However, The Night is Life has little to do with clubbing. Much of it recalls the author’s early life as a gay teenaged punk rocker growing up in drab communist East Berlin.
But Marquardt made his mark as a photographer. His shots of crumbling house facades, empty car-less streets and displaced looking individuals caught the mood of decaying Berlin. In the West he was regarded as East Germany’s photographic hope. But then the Wall fell and nobody took any interest. “The Western magazines wanted shots of frustrated East Germans standing in front of shelves. I didn’t have those pictures,” he says.
When the Wall fell Marquardt worked first in a shoe shop before he got his job at the Berghain. Der Spiegel magazine recently described him as a symbol of how radical life changes of some Berliners have made the city so attractive for visitors.