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Boy Peering through the Berlin Wall
A boy in West Berlin has clambered to the top of a pile of bricks to look through a hole in the wall, perhaps hoping for a glimpse of friends and family. This child, born since the end of World War II, cannot understand the political cause of his plight. He looks more curious than frightened, but he is small and insignificant in his street clothes, facing the wall of brick and...rows of barbed wire. He is surrounded by a wasteland of wire fencing, concrete and weeds left clear for a second, parallel fence to be built on the East German side. The area between the fences, known as the "death strip," offered clear fields of fire for guards on the wall. Balancing precariously on a tower of bricks, the boy grasps a strand of wire as he leans forward to see through the wall. The skies are overcast, and in the distance the shadows of factory buildings and a tall smokestack seem to suggest a grim future. Budnik printed this photograph in soft, grainy tones that support the mood of the image and approximate the coarse surfaces of concrete and mortar. Confronting the baffling political and physical barriers before him, this German boy metaphorically gazes into an uncertain life during the Cold War.
from Acton, A History of Photography at the University of Notre Dame: Twentieth Century (Notre Dame, 2019)