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The poetry in a manhole cover

Christoph Niemann first discovered opera in a building. For his current campaign he is finding opera in the city …

Christoph Niemann was named "best illustrator of our time" by FAZ. His playful approach to objects and urban spaces, as well as his work for the New Yorker among others, have made him one of the most well-known illustrators in the world. Niemann has already been twice inspired by opera as an art form to develop his poster campaign for the Deutsche Oper Berlin.

When you go to the opera you dive into another world – stage sets, costumes, music. But we bring the themes it addresses – love, envy, drama, happiness – from our own lives. And we carry home with us that which we experience at the opera.

Ideally, art changes our perception of our surroundings. This dialogue between life and the stage is the idea behind my series of images.

Berlin is a city of endless faces, but the city's character is defined as much by the raw as by the mundane. For this series I spent months taking photos, and have concluded that some manhole covers possess at least as much drama and poetry as the Reichstag in the morning fog.