A portmanteau of the two districts that intersect where the former power plant is located – Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain – the name Berghain also literally translates to “mountain grove” in German, an apt image considering the club’s huge international clout, lofty ceilings and monumentally long entry queues.
But it wasn’t always like this. Initially founded to continue the legacy of Ostgut, an uber-exclusive men’s fetish club, Berghain began to garner relentless international press attention after an American journalist famously dubbed it “the current world capital of techno” in 2007, a reputation that’s only grown stronger since. Over the past decade or so, the club has become equally renowned for its capriciously selective door policy and decadent ‘anything goes’ attitude once inside its towering concrete walls.
Yet EDM exclusivity and unbridled hedonism aside, there’s something else special about the Berghain experience that’s harder to put into words – something emblematic of Berlin nightlife that Berlin-born photographer Anna-Lena Krause has managed to capture perfectly with The Aftermaths.
A series of portraits of Krause’s friends taken directly after they’ve left the club following multiple nights of partying, the images of The Aftermaths possess a spellbinding kind of honesty that’s at once brutal and gentle, effectively conveying a raw state of vulnerability particular to the tail end of an epic Berlin bender.
For Krause, the pictures express not only her friends’ extreme fatigue in these moments, but also a special stripped-down quality. “I’ve always found such beauty and purity in this moment after a long sleepless night,” says the 25-year-old Berliner. “We’re living in a time in which we all have ideas about ourselves that are shaped strongly by the societies in which we participate, and in this moment of exhaustion I find something more true and honest.”
While each photo highlights the unique character of the featured individual, the portraits also evoke the freedom that Berlin’s nightlife has somehow retained over the years, despite the endless hype and growing commercialisation: the freedom to wear what you want, be who you want, and express yourself however you please. As Krause puts it, the best part about going out in Berlin is that it feels like entering “a parallel world in which the rules are still unwritten”.