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The story behind the sign…

October 14, 2009

If you follow my photographic adventures you undoubtedly have seen quite a few shots of this street sign from Berlin.  I figured since today is my last day in America before I finally go back to Ireland to join my wife it would be a perfect time to give the full story behind this shot and share my most meaningful photo I have ever taken.  After all, this one photo represents everything I have been working towards these last six months and makes all the suffering of forced separation worth it.

Around the end of January this year my wife and I were in Berlin, Germany to register for our upcoming wedding.  Since my family has always traced it’s heritage back to Rudolph Diesel, the inventor of the Diesel engine, we always wondered if there was a Diesel Street somewhere in Germany.  Susi’s dad informed us that there was actually one right there in Berlin.  We rushed out to a book store and bought a road atlas to send to my family with the street circled in it for when they come for the wedding.  We left Berlin and returned home content with the knowledge of Diesel Street.

Months passed and the next time we were in Berlin was for our wedding this last August.  The idea of finding Diesel Street had taken a back burner to everything else going on until we were at the reception.  During her dad’s tremendous speech, we were presented with an A4 sized picture of a white street sign that read Dieselstraße.  Upon closer examination we saw that our names and a heart were on a piece of paper hanging from the bottom of this sign.  The family had went out of their way to find this street, clean the sign and hang our names under it, which wasn’t a small task since they sent the shortest person they could.  Now we had to go and find it.

About five days later we finally had time to look for Diesel Street.  We got on the train for the forty minute long trip all the way to the other side of Berlin.  We really had no idea where we were going or even if our names were still there but we were determined to find it.  After what seemed like an hour wandering around under a very hot sun we rounded a corner and lo and behold there it was.  We ran up to the street sign and were hit with a big disappointment, our names weren’t there.  Still determined to find what has now become a symbol of our union we traversed the street both up and down.  Up the street there was yet another empty sign so we turned around to go the opposite way, constantly scanning the ground in case it had fallen off.  All the way at the other end of this very long street we saw one more white sign.  To our delight it had a piece of paper hanging from it with the words DJ ♡ Susi on it.  We felt incredible.  After a long train ride and a couple of times walking in giant circles on a very hot day we found it.  There was a furry of clicks as I wasted lots of film with every camera I had and in the frenzy of excitement I snapped this shot with my Holga.
This image embodies everything that these past six months have been for.  Here are Susi’s and my names under one common banner.  We are now the Diesels and that is forever.  And just like this picture, life is not perfect.  We had to suffer the agony of months apart while I tried for a visa.  But there is always a prevailing light shining through.  In the imperfection our love and affection keeps growing.  This image encompasses all that is my life, all that is our life and all that we strive for it to become.  This one shot marks the beginning to a happily ever after.
3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 14, 2009 9:20 pm

    Very well written, and a fitting end to this chapter in your life.

  2. October 14, 2009 9:29 pm

    What a great story – I’m so glad you are finally able to go home! Good luck and have a safe trip 🙂

  3. November 1, 2009 3:29 pm

    I am so very very happy for you!
    I wish you the absolute best~

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