Sarah Katharina Kayß

Sarah Katharina Kayß
Issue No. 10 – December 2015

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Panasonic Lumix

“Call me crazy, but I do love staircases. When other people take majestic pictures of the tourist attractions in the beautiful cities of this world, I will be in search for my next staircase-shot. Primarily, because I think staircases are beautiful and I’m bored of the “typical photograph”—one that everyone has taken in the same place. I like the idea that most people perceive staircases as functional and simply don’t pay attention to them: small steps, thick steps, old ones, new ones – some used so often, that you can hardly imagine what they once looked like and others, in rather hidden places, hardly ever used. You cannot imagine how often people stop by and ask me: “What are you taken a photograph of?” “The staircase.” “Why? Is it special?”

Yes, it is. Staircases are a construction designed to bridge a large vertical distance by dividing it into smaller vertical distances which we call steps and which can look very different. Staircases can be used in both ways: up and down. And they all tell a story. If only the story of my personal experience when I visited a particular place and I didn’t take a picture of the Louvre or the White House, but I surely have one of a staircase nearby.

Those four staircases are to be found in the UK and Germany. I took the one in red-ish in Bremen, a Hanseatic city in the northwest of Germany. The one with the yellow stairs is the staircase at Queensway underground station in Bayswater in London. People hardly see this one, because the vast majority will use the lifts instead—it feels like a never ending exercise to take the staircase at Queensway…126 steps, 19 flat, 107 spiral…I took the picture of the staircase in black and white in an NHS surgery in Camden Town, London and the one with the bluish steps in a park in Potsdam, the capital city of the German federal state of Brandenburg where I moved to from London in summer 2015.”

Sarah Katharina Kayß is an internationally published author and winner of the manuscript award of the German Writers Association (2013) for her poetry and essay collection “Ich mag die Welt, so wie sie ist” (2014). Sarah edits the bilingual literary magazine the Transnational and is currently a PhD student in the War Studies Department at King’s College London. You can visit her at

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