This article originally appeared on VICE Germany
Nordstadt is a neighbourhood in the western German city of Dortmund, where about 60,000 people of 140 different nationalities live together. Although it may sound like a very large scale Benetton ad, that's not the impression Germany has of Nordstadt. It's been called a no-go-area and a police-free zone in German media, but also by politicians.
"People say bad things about Nordstadt without really knowing what they're talking about," says 23-year-old photographer Adriano Vannini. He moved to the area about a year and a half ago, when he left his home country of Brazil to study photography in Germany. The first weeks of living there, he had no idea his new neighbourhood had such a bad reputation. That changed when a secretary from his university told him to "stay away from Nordstadt, it's dangerous. They'll rob you." That comment just made him want to get to know the area better. "I wanted to explore my neighbourhood with my camera," he says. The result is that, to this day, he still doesn't know who "they" – those people that would come and rob him – are.
His pictures show Nordstadt like it is – people going about the neighbourhood, people gazing out of their windows all day, permanent construction work. "The fact that Nordstadt has a bad reputation isn't based on nothing. There are real problems here, like drug trafficking and prostitution," Adriano says. But with his photographs, he wants to show that that's not all there is to it. "Nordstadt is like a stew," he says. "It might not look like much, but when you really try it, you realise it's better than you could ever have imagined."
Scroll down for more of Adriano Vannini's photos of Nordstadt.