Barlife 2

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Barlife 3

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This is an infrared photograph taken in a small bar in France. A little boy was watching the men play cards, he was fascinated by them.

This is what grown-ups do, unfortunately by the time I’d got the camera out he’d gone.

Bars, cafe’s and restaurants can be fascinating places even without anyone in them.

On the continent they love their bars and drinking places and leave them alone, in England we bugger them about.

We re-invent them, chasing faddish markets, giving the punters ‘fake old’ or ‘retro’, or ‘themed’, or whatever else is deemed to be current . Abroad it’s the genuine stuff, and they’ve got it in spades.

Two full pints and the conversation flows. Someone told me he thought alcohol was brain fuel, I liked the description.

It fires up the imagination, all of a sudden you’re running on high octane ideas, travelling at speed you can cover a lot of ground, it’s exhilarating but dangerous – you need a handbrake.

Some people don’t come equipped with one.

The waiters taking time out was an obvious shot, the gaggle of people going round the corner on their cell ‘phones was a lucky break.

There was a time when everything rocked, you talked to everybody, and every body talked to you.

Almost everything about this scene intrigues me. Nothing feels comfortable.

In bars we are all watching each other. You wonder what the story is, you look for the clues. You are inches away from finding out, this isn’t the street, it’s a bar, talking to strangers is acceptable.


Direct eye contact, the undivided attention of another human being, it makes the room light up.

She’s posed for this, put her best smile on.

That’s what women do. Guys try and look mean and interesting, women just want to look good.

The original intention was to photograph the big guy in the white shirt and braces. He had a walrus moustache, and a terrific face. But I panicked when he looked up at me. I fired the camera and moved away, the result was huge camera blur. But the man on the right caught my attention.

His friend looks like he is trying to help, as friends do. But the demons we face, in the end, we face them alone.

They reminded me of gunslingers in a western saloon. This is what men do at the bar, chew the fat, shoot the breeze, talk big – except….. I once heard a bunch of men who were all friends admit they were frightened.

Not of a fight you understand, or anything else you could face up to, these guys were older man, who would still be handy in a punch-up.

They were afraid of something else. : telephone: 01263 517118
all images copyright David Morris