My work

Idea brainstorm for documenting cafe culture.


My main idea is to record the various types of people which visit cafes. Hopefully I can capture on camera the various age groups,who they go with and even possibly what they buy/do.

i hope that whilst I am recording this information a pattern arises.


The idea i had decided upon for my documentary images was to capture the various types of customers that visit cafes.Below i think i have gathered a good range of customers,each inside or near a cafe so that it is visible that they are a customer, rather than a random image of a person where i claim they regularly visit cafes.Here is the proof.DSC_1025-2

Starting with this older man,he appears either homeless or jobless.Due to his clothing, i suggest he is lacking money but still able to take care of himself. He may not be inside a cafe nor on his way to it, but if you examine this image you can see that this man is playing a piano in Derby city centre for money( his money tub is located on the top of his speaker ).The relation to the cafe is the fact he is earning money near a cafe, which you can see by looking at the signs in the background containing a cafe menu and directional arrow pointing down the alley.This suggests that once he has finished and earned enough money, he would then be going to the nearby cafe for a hot coffee and maybe something to eat.

This shows that even if you lack money, a cafe can be a good place to go for food, drink and warmth.Some cafes can be cheap which helps this man a lot as he could get more for his money, rather than earning £5 and then spending it all on 1 cup of coffee.

With this image i would have loved to have captured somebody tossing money into the pot, but from where i was stood that person would have blocked the cafe sign, therefore the image would no longer be of cafe culture.If i had tried to combat this issue by moving my position, i would have, but that means the sign would not be in the background.


Here are two males, each having something to eat and drink.They are both clean, well maintained gentlemen wearing suits and ties.This suggests they have a good, professional, well paid job but we can still find these gentlemen at a cafe.This could suggest that the cafe is an expensive, fancy cafe with only the best food and drink.But that isn’t always the truth,they may be able to afford it but we can see these two men aren’t in a high-end cafe, showing they are good with their money.These men are responsible.

With this image i do know that half of the image is of a messy table, but i find that it adds to the image. What sort of fancy restaurant would have messy, empty tables?

This image is of two visually active men grabbing something to eat and drink.We see they are active due to the fact they are still wearing big coats and bags, but also because the male on the left has ordered something to eat and instead of sitting down somewhere, he is eating it where he stands.Suggesting that as soon as they are done they, they will be on the move again and it was literally just a quick stop for something to eat.

I think i would have gotten a better shot if i had taken the image from behind the staff so that the light radiating from the cafe is used to see their faces because taking the image form behind darkens them and makes them almost seem like a silhouette .


This one is showing teenagers in a cafe.Sat in a large group of close friends at a large table all having a laugh together.This shows us that it’s not just the elderly that visit cafes, it is also teenagers.Even mothers take children into cafes.

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 Here is a lovely elderly man enjoying something to eat with a lovely cup of coffee! On this image i managed to capture the serving area and menu in the background which i am rather pleased about.This man seems like a lovely guy, his clothing doesn’t suggest poor not does it suggest a well paid, professional job.This man seems very average to me.His choice of cafe depends entirely on his preference.

Personally, i love the composition of this image and the only way i think i could improve it by holding the camera higher up due to the fact i had to crop this image due to me having a blurry white table at the bottom of the shot,which ruined it and took focus off this man.

 This image is interesting due to the fact this image of customers is actually the staff! These two ladies are having a chat alongside something to eat and drink during their break, in their own cafe.this classes them as their own customers.This is an interesting twist to the series of images documenting customers of these types of businesses.

This image seems somewhat blurred so i reckon i should have took  a little more time focusing to get a sharper image.

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Although this image is of a customer deciding what to buy, this is rather a humorous image.The way i had composed this image was in a way where this man became part of the mean deal.His head is lined up nicely in the meal deal offer behind him, suggesting you get him along with a drink and a packet of crisps.But it has more meaning than that to me.At first you giggle, enjoying the humour.But if you examine the image more, you will see this man is missing his leg.He isn’t on a scooter due tithings such as back problems like most people, or even because he is lazy like somebody i know.But because he literally has not got the ability to walk.

I class this image as strong as i find that after you enjoy the humour from the meal deal incident, you then feels guilty because of this man missing his leg.You start thinking, and you feel sorry for this man.


This is my ‘Fine Art’ Image, due to it being more visually appealing rather than documenting.

I find this image visually appealing due to the separate levels of depth of field and focus, it has a lot of variety.This related to cafe culture due to the customer(in focus) which is walking into uncle toms cabin, as it says at the top of the screen.
I wish i had lined this shot up a  little better due to the tilted cafe sign, but this was a quick image where i was hoping for the best, and i was lucky to get what i did.This could have gone visually awful.
I don’t think there’s anything i can say about changing for next time with this image, as i doubt i’d be able to re-take this image.

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This is my advertising image where i am trying to show that you don’t need pound coins and notes to buy a coffee, you should be able to afford it using spare change hidden in the bottom of your purse or wallet, or simple loose change in your pocket.

This is one of the images i had taken on my phone(Samsung Galaxy S3), i have applied an image of copper coins onto a new layer and framed it in the cup whilst also changing the opacity so that it appears as liquid.I’ve then added text and a logo i had found on google images through adobe photoshop on a mac laptop.

I think i should have taken this image on a camera in colour for better quality.If i would have shot in colour, i could have had many more editing opportunities.

This assignment has been rather stressful for me due to trying to create 3 different types of images for 3 different people, its like 3 assignments in one.But it has gave me useful experience in the difference between advertising, documentary and fine art images, which i know could come in handy in the future.

To improve i should have given myself more time to work on certain images to improve my work visually.


The first set of image were taken using a mobile phone so that i could explore another type of lens based image making that wasn’t using a Nikon D7100 like all my other images.I found that i was more comfortable taking images as it was rather discreet and just appeared like i was texting on my phone.The downfall to this is the last of quality in my images, but as you will be able to see i experimented with a few different settings on my phone such as effects and white balance.

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These images were taken inside the Britannia cafe in Derby city centre, this is a cafe which is usually occupied by the older generation.Ideas to why this is could be due to it’s warm, quiet atmosphere, friendly customers and staff,reasonable prices, easy access, or even due to its discreet placing as this cafe is hidden down an alleyway.This means it doesn’t attract many tourists or people looking for a quick snack on their shopping day, the people who visit this cafe would be regular, good customers as they know of its location.

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I found that using a camera phone it takes a while to focus on your subject due to the fact i need to tap on the screen to set a focus point, this could change at any time if somebody walks past due to it auto-focusing so this may ruin some shots, as you can see by the following image of a male and his shopping bags.20141205_135732_resized 20141205_135745_resized_1 20141205_135745_resized

I found a problem that every time i took an image it appeared rather yellow due to the lighting and colours indoors.

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To combat this issue  i firstly began to play around with the effects, such as black and white and sepia.

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I found using black and white good as i tend to associate documentary photograph with black and white images, although i know it’s not about the colours that make it a documentary photograph.Reasons for this is facts such as black and white images are more believable as back in the day when shooting in black and white, manipulating images was not a heavily used skill.

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I also used sepia as it also, much like black and white, gave an olden kind of feel to the image, so it is more believable.As you can see below, i then began to alter the white balance on my images to try and reduce the intense yellow colours.

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On some images, you can tell, where as on others it is harder to spot.The only way you could tell is by a slight difference in the yellow tones as they appear more washed out. On the image above where it is visible it has been altered, this then make the image appear a somewhat blue/green colour, which i didn’t like all that much.

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I also found it difficult to get a closer shot as the zoom action on a camera phone only enlarger the pixels and crops the image.Making it of an even worse focus and quality.

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20141205_141423_resized_1Although shooting on a phone is physically and mentally easier and more subtle, this has a rather bad effect on the quality of images.If i’m taking a snapshot, my phone is great, but if i am looking for a good quality image i should stick to using digital cameras or film cameras as they also have a great quality and depth of field.
I didn’t find any images that were taken on my phone of any good use to use in my final pieces.

The following images were taken using a 50mm lens on a Nikon D7100 camera in Derby City Centre before i visited the Britannia cafe to us emu mobile phone.

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These images are of much better quality, even with the various exposure issues on some images.

Here are the top 10 image from this photoshoot that i had chosen as my favourite/best/strongest


As we can see, this male is  sat on a bench in the middle of town playing a piano.He is doing this to earn money placed in the pot near his speaker.This image has a good composition as we can see all this information, plus the cafe sign behind him with a menu and arrow directing the public to the cafe.This suggests that this man is trying to gather enough money to go and get something to eat and drink from the near by cafe.

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Using Microsoft PowerPoint and Google on the Mac PCs at college, i priced together a presentation stating what i find similar between my work and the work of other photographers in my Cafe Culture work.

All the images i had available were all documentary images, so of course i used documentary photographers.

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Starting with Bruce Gilden, He tends to capture people quite close doing their day to day lifestyle

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As you can tell here,i was close to a woman and a couple and captured them as they were rushing past me.I could have got a lot better shot if i had looked through the viewfinder, but then they would have had more time to react!I wanted it to be spontaneous and shocking.This image is somewhat blurred but that’s due to the rushing woman.

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I adore this image.I was waiting at some traffic lights and there was a woman stood next to me, so , without thinking, i took a quick shot and continued to walk.It wasn’t until i examined the image that i enjoyed it.This woman who obviously adores red has dressed up so beautifully and elegantly, in almost a pin up girl style yet she is stoof in the cold, damp weather in Derby with buses driving past and others who don;t really care about their appearance across the road.This woman stands out alot.
It would have been great to of found her in the center of a group of th epublic who are visually unkempt.This would have been a lovely contrast.

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But some of my images resembled that of Javier,in their simple yet ordinary style.

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For example, people word all the time.We know there are workers in cafes, so to us it isnt extraordinary for us to find an image of them working.But this is documentary,and i am documenting this ladys job and the things she has to do,such as Javier did.

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Not only did Javier get images on things like products but i did also, and this was admittedly not inspired by that of Javier.

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These images are of items associated with coffee houses, wether it be inside or outside.

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I know there are many other product photographers that i could have compared to, but Javier is the only one i have found that not only captured products(in a non- advertising way) but he also captures actions.

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Robert captured beautiful shots of customers in cafes and coffee houses, no matter how easy or simple.

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Even though he shot in black and white and i shot in colour for this image, they still relate in the fact that these are customers of a cafe.


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This image has a little twist though.This is an image of customers inside of a cafe,but these ladies are also the workers of the cafe they are currently inside.They are on their break,and of all the places in the local area they could have gone, they stayed loyal to the business.



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These are not workers, but teenagers who have visited the cafe for a coffee and maybe a bite to eat.They have gone in a decent sides group of friends and they are all visibly enjoying themselves and having a good laugh and bonding over something that they all can relate to as friends.

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Here we see not teenagers,not workers, but middle aged , unkempt customers outside of what is visibly a somewhat cheap cafe.You can tell it is cheap due to the stereotype of people outside who appear to be noticably low on funds.Otherwise they could be wearing branded clothes with salon hair,but no.They’ve got a budget to stick to and they are not about to blow it on an expensive coffee!

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This image specifically by Trent Parke relates to one of my images in a noticable way.

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This image was not planned, nor did it appear this way when i looked through the viewfinder, but it works, and i find it amazing with the variety of layers within the image.Much like Trents, this is an image looking over somebodies should, except in my image we are looking over somebodys shoulder and we see so much information such as that this image is in Derby, and behind that we see a woman, but it we look where she is going, we see she is a customer to a cafe.

Here we were experimenting with creating a new image from 2 photographs.We did this by first experimenting with finding two images that work well together in our own collection of images that we have gathered over the years.

We then placed one on top of another and faded the opacity to about 50%, maybe more.

opacity 2This is my first image i attempted,the image of Quad fills the sky and gives the image more information, it appears as if Quad is behind these houses.

Opacity 1This is the image that i used,This image gets the mind thinking what is real and what isn’t, where was these images taken?What angle i sit taken from?On this image there are a variety of factors that create a contrast such as composition,, etc. That is why this works so well.Also, almost all of the empty spaces are filled with buildings and people.This image was created using the following two images.



I then printed out these two images to take into the dark room and try recreate the image i had previously created on Adobe Photoshop.
The way i did the following was by placing the two image on top of each other, faced down on top of a piece of photographic paper



This was my first step test.
This was with the filter on at an aperture of 8 with 10 second steps.It seemed quite grey and dull. So i tried it for a little longer and did 15 second steps.



It started coming out a lot better so i chose about 90 seconds for the image and tested this on a small piece of paper.



This was a decent time as the lines from the building of the second image were still visible, so i was capturing both images in one.


After my first full size negative, i realised that by capturing th elides of the second image, i have completely removed all detail of the first image, so i had to take the exposer duration down by ably 20 seconds.



This came out with such a better result, but for some reason it seemed as if the black sky was melting into the image, so i tried again thinking i had accidentally nudged the paper.


This is the final result, you may not be able to see the lines in the sky like before, but the lines are visible where the building is.It’s very subtle, but it’s there! It has given a new style to the buildings.

I think that this technique of creating an image can give you some great results, but it’s complicated and very time consuming.If i had the time, i would experiment greatly, but with a deadline i decided the best thing for me to do is to stick to what i know.



I have been given 5 subjects to design, plan, and create an advertising image for.
Below is a list of the subjects, my ideas , and soon a sketch of an idea to recreate.

Good value for money:

With this subject i plan to fill a mug/ tea cup and saucer with old/used copper ( 2 and 1 pence pieces ). This could show that all you have to use is the spare change out of your purse that never gets used and gets thrown to the side.No pound coins necessary.

I shall take the image as a see form above image so you can see directly into the cup, which i will place on a nice wooden table to compliment the copper coins.

Another idea using the mug is to instead, get a hand model and a studio and slowly pour the coins out of the cup and onto either the saucer or the table and capture the coins falling.I thought against this idea because i felt it represented wasting money rather than saving it.

Which also gives me another idea.Saving money?I could use that to my advantage.Perhaps i could act as if the cup was some sort of piggy bank and ask the hand model to either pro the coins out of her palm into the cup or to hold it above as if it was an actual piggy bank.So this would of course represent saving money, just not in the way you’d think.

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Open 24hrs:

For this i was thinking on placing a steaming hot cup of coffee outdoors on a table in town and get an image of the cup from a low angle, so that the coffee is in the foreground and in the background we see the tips of the buildings and the sky.I would then go into photoshop and place a gradient on the sky along with an image of the sun and the moon on each end to show day and night.

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Various options:

For this i was thinking of placing various kinds of tea/coffee cups on a cafe table and arranging them so they are either organised smallest to largest vertically or horizontally and capturing an image of that.
If that doesn’t work out too great, i could capture an image of behind the counter of the carious tea boxes/ coffee preparation equipment.They also tend to have a wide selection of syrups for coffee, each creating its own flavour of coffee, there fore another coffee choice.

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Free refills:

For this i had planned to get an image of various coffee cups in the studio all singularly and to also get a see from above view of some coffee beans that had been arranged to create the infinity symbol.
I was going to keep the white studio background as a base and use Adobe photoshop to scatter the coffee/tea cups around the infinity symbol.
But i could also have the coffee bean symbol in the centre and scatter the cups around it to avoid the use of Photoshop and also get a birds eye view of the coffee cups.If i did this, i would either fill the cups with coffee beans and teabags or actual coffee.But that would be expensive, so to be more efficient i could always use a brown liquid or water which  can photoshop brown.

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Good Environment:

For this i had planned to visit a cafe which already had a good environment and collect images of the sitting area with warm lighting, and to capture the moment where all the customers seem happy and joyful.I am hoping that the cafe has an average number of customers as if it’s empty, you can’t portray the happy environment that well, but it also doesn’t look like a good place due to no business. But i also don’t want it super busy as it wouldn’t look attractive to the viewer as they would not like to visit a cramped, stuffy cafe full of strangers.If there was a decent amount of people with obvious spare seating that would be perfect.

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So what do you think of my ideas?

Here is my contact sheet for 27/11/14.On this date i had gone out into town with a couple of friends with the aim to find and capture some documentary styled images based around cafe culture.We did this by visiting all cafes we came across and either hooking the camera across our shoulder and shoot as we walked past, or occasionally i would face my fear and seek an image through the viewfinder and acted as the ‘invisible man’.The only reason i had enough courage to do that was due to a video by Chris Shaw.

With the first set of images, i was using a Nikon D7100 camera with a Tokina 77mm, 12-14 lens.I used this as it was as close to a wide angle lens as i could get, as i wished to capture more in my image as i walked by so i didn’t miss out on anything, but i was also hoping for a fish eye effect, which unfortunately i did not achieve.This was my first time using a wide angle lens.

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With this set of images, i had swapped lenses to a Nikon 18-105 for a closer look on the images.This is the lens i would normally use when going out gathering images, so i’m used to images like this.But it is still new to me getting documentary images and having to go out into the public and gather images of them doing their business.

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I found it hard to walk past people and take images, it made me incredibly paranoid that they may notice or hear the noise and wonder where it came from.I had done something similar in a previous project, except on the previous project i was even more up- close and personal like Bruce Gilden, where as on this one my images are more like those of documentary photographers like Chris Shaw.
But i am glad that i have done it and experienced what it is like to go out into the public with no idea what you are going to capture until you already have it.Out of all of those images, there were only a few that i liked, but i do admit that most of the images are repetitive due to me taking plenty of the same place when i walked past, and not all were well focused,but it takes practice i guess.
Below you will find what i consider my best images from that shoot. I have paired them with a black and white version as i wanted to shoot in b&w but i also wanted a coloured version just incase, to i had the idea to shoot in colour and use lightroom to change the following images into black and white, to compare and see which looks best.
Personally, i love B&W photography, so my final pieces will probably end up being in B&W, but at least i tried both versions.

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I admit, at a glance this image appears to be  of just chairs.The main focus is on the chairs and it’s not too obvious that i was attempting to record the entire cafe that has many empty chaos up close but the further away, the more people there is.It like a gradual increase in customers.
I find this image more of a fine art piece if i am honest, the documentary side of the image is hidden in the background.
Colour choice: Black and white.

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With this image, the focus is on the centre of the image, focusing mainly on the sign, the boy and the shop.Because it was taken at a lower than usual angle, it has exaggerated the actual size of the sign and made it roughly the same size as the boy walking past.I think this image would be a decent image for the advertisement of Sam-widges, perhaps if the male wasn’t in it also, as this would put immense focus on the actual shop and be a great, interesting image for the business.

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This image is just a simple image of a group of people sat on chairs outside of Greggs having a chat.This is typically what we find around when it concerns people having a tea or coffee with friends, they’re always having a good old natter.I’d definitely class this one as documentary as it’s the town life.People rushing around with shopping bags with some people sparing time during shopping for a break.

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I love this image! if you look closely, i have captured women entering a shop, but also couple getting up to leave that same shop whilst there is a man outside having a strangely large slice of pizza. I feel as if i have captured a sequence of actions in one image.Entering a shop, eating, and leaving. I like this image in black and white as it makes it more dramatic, but i also like it in colour as you can tell that this man is eating a pizza easier in colour, and i feel that if i took focus away from that the image just wouldn’t be as good.

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This image is of a woman paying for some snacks from a portable business.This van sells tea, coffee, various other drinks and many snacks.It would have gone a lot better with my theme if this woman was paying for a cup of tea or coffee.Any kind of hot beverage really, but i’d rather this than nothing. I prefer this image in black and white as the colours seem washed out and dull.The yellow is a very wished out colour and gives the image a completely different look.Where as the black and white gives more focus to the serving station in the truck due to the darkness, so all the focus is pulled into the centre.DSC_0769 DSC_0769

This image is the same as the previous, just from a different angle.Unfortunately, the customer had left by this point but the same view on the black and white image remains the same.In black and white the focus is pulled onto the serving area of the van due to the contrast and darkness emerging form the inside.This would document the various kinds of food trucks you can find around that offer beverages and snacks.This one obviously doesn’t sell the typical english fish and chips kind of thing, but this bring some culture onto the streets of Derby and offers the public easy access to new foods.

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I definitely think this image is more dramatic in black and white.I admit there is not much going on in this image, and nothing interesting at that.But it shows the not all shops are wheelchair/scooter accessible.You can tell that it is a rather small shop, but it has meant this poor customer has had to trust the public and leave his/her scooter outside whilst they do something as simple as buy a coffee.Obviously they had nobody with them to go in and grab them something.This image makes me rather sad the more i think about it.

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In this image,i am documenting the service and relationship between the staff and the customers.The lady which is serving the man is very joyful and happy, making the customer feel very welcome.This would make a good advertising image also due to the happy service and the Panorama sign in plain view.


This one shows the kinds of people that sit outside of food shops and smokes, not considering the people merely 1 meter away indoors.Since it is classed as outside, people think it is fine, but it is not ethically acceptable.I prefer this image in black an white as it gives it more of an older/vintage style. The cafe here isn’t a new, modernised place, which helps gives the old feel to the image.


This image shows the services are available outdoors amongst indoors, even in awful seater, Uncle Toms Cabin is prepared!This is a typical scene we see every day of some women and a baby having a good old fashioned chat! Perhaps over a cup of tea or coffee.
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I absolutely adore this image from a fine art respective as it has 3 levels of focus.The woman close to the camera is very blurred, the stone sign is kind of blurred, and the woman outside uncle toms cabin is well focused.
I took this image accidentally.I only wanted an image of the woman near the sign,But somebody had walked near my lens as i took the image, and i am glad they did.This image may not document much other than some people smoking outside uncle toms cabin, but it’s very pleasing to my eye, especially in black and white.

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With this image, i have noticed that the focus is on the pair of people behind the man, but they are more obvious anyway due to them being in light and the main subject being in darkness.But i enjoy this image.You can tell its a cold day but it’s warm at the same time due to us witnessing this man enjoy a nice hot cup of tea/coffee.The people behind look very awkward as they know images were being taken where as the male enjoying his drink was very joyful and open to having his photo taken.He was a lovely man, and i feel this is portrayed through image.We need more people like this in our world!
This image reminds me of the work of Bruce Gilden where he captures images of people by getting up close and personal.Obviously, i have alarmed some people with me getting images of their faces up close.

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Here we see two elderly men looking at a menu containing meal deals and discounts.We can see what they usually look for in a cafe as they are looking at deals instead of on the actual menu located to the left of these men.This is documenting the way people behave in cafes and/or with their money.They tend to save as much as they can but still enjoy themselves and go out.I prefer this in black and white as it takes focus away from the sign outside on the floor as its illuminate  orange and very distracting from the items on the window and the men.

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This shows a supposed single mother and child sat alone on a table in the corner of a cafe.They have secluded themselves from the rest of the world and stayed to themselves.This may be on purpose or coincidental but its obvious these people don’t enjoy large spaces or busy places as the cafe area next to them had people in it. I feel that this feels a lot more emotional in black and white and a lot more dramatic.

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Here is a cafe where you can be part of the experience simply by walking past.You are still part of the cafe if you are in the area.Here we see a disabled man at the cafe without needing a ramp to get up the step.We also see another elderly and disabled woman walking past.She perhaps does not intend to go to the cafe, but she fits in well. In black and white the light reflecting off the floor gives a really nice effect and also black and white helps the main subjects stand out more .This is what these people do in their day to day lives, we see this by how comfortable and confident they are.

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I think i like this image in colour as we can see the dull, boring scene outside the cafe on the right, but theres many bright lights, bold colours and lovely festive decorations exploding from the cafe and giving it a lovely warm, home like feel.This cafe looks lovely and welcoming due to it being well lit, and festive.This is a simple image of a cafe with a man eating nearby, a woman leaving, and a service area.

DSC_0997 DSC_0997

Here is an image of a woman sat alone facing into the cafe.She could be waiting for a friend to come out of=r she could just be looking for something to stare at.It i sun usual because, if you sit at a table, you sit facing the table.Whereas she is not, she is facing into the cafe from the outside.I think i prefer the colour version of this image as where the woman is sat seems very dull and boring where as there’s a lovely warm light coming from the service area of the cafe, along with a fridge full of lovely colourful drinks.It somewhat gives the message that it’s exiting and welcoming in that shop.

DSC_0761 DSC_0761

This has to be my number one favourite image.I do class it as documentary but it has such a deeper meaning to me.At first, this image makes me happy, i feel cheerful and i giggle at the fact that this man appears to be part of the meal deal.You get him, some pop and some crisps.But this makes me look even deeper, which then i see that this man is on a scooter.But why?Maybe he is lazy like some of the other people that ride them.But no.He is one of the few that need a scooter.If you direct your attention to his left leg, you will see something odd, this poor man has no foot.He has been amputated from the knee down.The plastic bag between his leg aids us in seeing the fact that he has no foot, which is what to would notice first about his leg.
I find this image should be in black and white,it makes the image more serious, as its not as playful as you may first think it is.This image makes my feel sympathetic.He could of lost his leg in any kind of way, but either way you know that this poor man has suffered, and still does.

Whilst i had been gathering these images i have learned that not everything we find out in the real world is happy.Not everything is beautiful.When i go out shooting i should capture the good and the ugly.
It has also taught me how to use a wide angle lens on a Nikon D7100 and it has helped me get used to shooting from the hip and shooting without being seen.
What i need to do next time to improve is to , instead of shooting from the hit, shoot like normal, so i can see what i’m getting.But if i do things such as use a smaller camera, or even smart phone, and go out alone then already i am less noticeable.

What is lens based image making?

Lens based image making doesn’t always mean a camera, there’s many many ways in which you can make an image.
Such as:
Film Cameras
Digital Camera
Phone camera
Basically anything where you are able to take an image using a lens.

This is why , during this assignment, i have experimented with various lenses such as a film camera lens on a digital camera(50mm) and i have also used my phone to take images inside a cafe

What do i really know?

Here are a list of Q & As i have asked myself, researched/thought about, and then responded to.This is so that i know more about my subject before i head out and photograph it.This could open up many new ideas and viewpoints for my benefit.


What is my theme?

My main theme is of course, ‘Cafe Culture’, whereas my sub-theme is still somewhat undecided.
I want my images to be spontaneous yet informative,so i was thinking of my theme to be ‘How people live’ and capture what kinds of people go to cafes,what they drink/eat in cafes and what they do/who they do it with in cafes.

What do i already know about cafes?

At this moment in time, i admit i don’t actually know much about cafes.
Off the top of my head, all i could tell you is:
-They sell tea(Some places offer herbal tea), coffee and usually cakes and biscuits.
-They often have tables and chairs for people to drink in.

What else could i learn?

I could attempt to find out the origin on cafes and what that really do consist of.I could try and figure out why they are so popular amongst the public.I have generated a list of questions to answer later in this post.

How could i find it out?

My main source of research would be use of the internet.
Other sources can include going to the library, and also going to a cafe and finding out this information primarily.

What am i going to produce?

I wish to produce a series of documentary images of various kinds of people doing a variety of things in the same place. A cafe.
I want the story i am trying to show to be clear as i am wanting to show the viewers the fact they a cafe isn’t just for one kind of person, nor are you obligated to do the same specific thing if you are the sit inside a cafe/coffee house.People go there for their own different reasons, each with a different kind of guest accompanying them , if any. In example, a couple, a family, a group of friends.They also buy different things and act in a different way.No matter how different all there people are from each other,i want to capture the fact they are all doing this in a cafe.My story showing a cafe is for everybody.

What photographers may influence new ideas?(Future research)


Robert Frank
Diane Arbus
Martin Parr
Robert Doisneau
Henri Cartier Bresson
Bruce Gilden
Thomas Ruff
Joel Sternfeld
Peter Marlow
Daniel Arnold
Nadav Kander

What techniques shall i use?

I have a choice between candid,scened,street and landscape photography.I think with my theme candid photography would be the best choice so that i can capture everyday people going about their life.
I also have the choice of working in digital or film,which i cannot decide between.
Working with film, not only do i love the beautiful black and white contrast it creates, but with it being in black and white, the images seem more serious, rather than being considered as ‘fun’ with the variety of colours scattered around.Nor do i with it to be considered some kind of fashion photography if there is somebody at the cafe wearing an article of clothing which stands out.


What is a cafe?

‘Cafe’ may not refer to a specific kind of shop.It can refer to a coffee house,bar,tea room,restaurant or transport cafe.Typically, i associate it with a coffee house, which is an establishment witch primarily focuses on providing customers with hot beverages and an assortment of cakes and biscuits.Although nowadays, a coffee house can serve cold beverages.By this i don’t mean things like coca cola,but things such as an ‘Iced Latte’,’Iced Tea’ and various other beverages.
A cafe in England may seem way different from a cafe in somewhere such as the Middle East due to the fact that over here in the UK, our cafes generally consist of the usual hot beverages and light snacks, whereas cafe houses in places like Turkey will offer shisha / nargile (Flavoured tobacco smoked using a hookah).
Either way no matter what kind of cafe/coffee house it is, places like these are largely considered meeting places and serve as a centre for social interaction for each and every kind of relationship.You can go there with the family, friends, partner or even soon to be partner as it is often a good place to go on a date, so you can get to know each other over a coffee.
Coffee houses are not only used to go out for a drink, but to congregate amongst one another, talk, read/write, and to simply pass time.

But why ‘ Café ‘?

How long have they been around?

An Ottoman chronicler called İbrahim Peçevi wrote this in his writings between 1642 and 1649 relating to the supposed first coffee house in Istanbul:

‘Until the year 962 [1555], in the High, God-Guarded city of Constantinople, as well as in Ottoman lands generally, coffee and coffee-houses did not exist. About that year, a fellow called Hakam from Aleppo and a wag called Shams from Damascus came to the city; they each opened a large shop in the district called Tahtakale, and began to purvey coffee.’

Alternatively, i have also found out that there was a coffee house which opened in Damascus in 1530 that influenced Cairo to begin building coffee houses.

Why do cafe houses associate  hot beverages with light snacks and cakes?

I have attempted to find a more advanced reason for this through research but my attempts have failed.So in my opinion, i think that they sell treats to go alongside your beverage as it is a great combination.The classic food & drink.If you have gone out for coffee, you are already treating yourself to a luxury in life, so why not supply the customers with another little treat?
As you could obviously tell, this would provide more money to the cafe as if they had a snack, they’d usually get thirsty or have a drink to wash it down.
So,what is tea?

The actual word for tea goes far into the chinese language, but i’ve found out it eventually translates to ‘bitter herb’.

Tea is originally from China,and likely began during the Shang Dynasty where it was provided as a medical beverage.It was introduced to Portuguese priests and merchants in China in the 16h century,Drinking tea became popular in Britain during the 17th century.

Tea is made from leaves of the plant ‘Camellia sinensis’.
Camellia sinensis is native to East,South and southeast Asia.(So basically,Asia.)
It may be interesting for you to know that fresh leaves contain about 4% caffeine.

The high-quality tea we find in markets today are high quality due to the way the tea plants have been grown.Surprisingly, to achieve a richer and stronger tea flavour in the leaves, it isn’t chemicals or fertiliser that they add to the plants, but the plant is grown at a high elevation of up to 1,500 meters as this leaves the plants growing slower and therefore acquiring more flavour.Ironically, you can compare this to when you leave a tea bag in the water for longer so that it’s stronger.

White,yellow,green,oolong,pu-erh and black tea all come from this species of plant, but to create the different kind of tea it is processed in its own way to achieve a different level of oxidation.Herbal tea refers to the making of tea without the actual tea leaves, making it an infusion of herbs and fruits such as chamomile.Although i have seen herbal teas which include green tea, to this would not be 100% true as there is some herbal teas out there created with tea leaves.

But the leaves aren’t only used for tea,they are also used in traditional Chinese medicines to treat things such as asthma.
Recent research shows that tea (mostly green tea) has various health benefits. Apparently, drinking tea has a chance to reduce the chance of getting cancer amongst a change in cholesterol levels with antibacterial properties and positive effects for weight loss.This is due to teas high levels of catechins, which is a type of antioxidant.
But don’t just assume tea is great for you and you should drink it all the time, it also has a few negative effects such as over consumption of caffeine amongst the presence of fluoride and oxalates.

So, why is it traditional for us in Britain to drink tea?

The wife of King Charles II of England,Catherine of Braganza brought the tea habit the GB around the 1660s when it tasted by Samuel pepys.But tea wasn’t widely consumed in Britain until the 18th century,which was a time where tea was expensive until later in that century.But the reason it was widely consumed in Britain whilst still being expensive, was not because we were rich, but because in the 18th century tea was being smuggled into Britain, making it cheap and affordable to the general public.It’s importance eventually influenced the Boston Tea Party.
Eventually the tax on tea had been eradicated by the government, stopping the smuggling of tea by 1785.
In Britain and Ireland, tea has became an everyday beverage and is consumed by all levels of society by the late 19th century.It was originally consumed as a luxury item for special occasions but due to the price decreasing to make way for new luxury tea ( Indian Tea ) ordinary tea had become an affordable beverage.

In our current day, in the UK it is considered one of Britain’s cultural beverages.If you have a guest in your home it is considered good manners to offer them a cup of tea upon their arrival.

What about coffee?

Coffee is made from brewing roasted or baked seeds of several species of an evergreen shrub of the genus Coffea.
‘Coffee’ derives from the Ottoman Turkish ‘Kahve’ and possibly the Italian ‘Caffe’ which in turn derives from the Arabic ‘Qahwah’ or ‘Quwwa’ meaning ‘power’ and ‘energy’.
The two most common sources of coffee beans are from the Coffea arabica and the ‘robusta’ form of Coffea canephora.
Coffee is slightly acidic as its pH is 5.0-5.1 sand it gives us a stimulating effect when we drink it due to the caffeine content.
After research, it has been found that moderate coffee consumption is only mildly beneficial to our health, but the diterpenes may increase the risk of heart disease.

Coffee cultivation began in Abyssinia,the earliest evidence of coffee drinking appeared in the 15ht century in the Sufi shrines of Yemen.In the Horn of Africa and Yemen, coffee was used in local religious ceremonies,conflicted with the beliefs of the christian and ethipian churches.

According to legend, ancestors of the Oromo people were the first to discover to energising effect of coffee.
This lead to the story of Kaldi, an Ethiopian goatherd who found his goats became highly exited after eating these beans.So this lead to these beans being used to stimulate animals.
The story of how coffee was found to be a good beverage is rather interesting.
Apparently,Sheikh Omar was once exhaled from Yemen to a desert cave near Ousab, where he began to starve.So he chewed on some berries from a nearby shrubbery but found them to be bitter, so he attempted to roast them on a fire to improve the flavour, which made them too hard, so he boiled them so that they would soften, which then lead to him creating a brown liquid substance which was fragrant.Upon drinking it he found himself revitalised and sustained for days.Which gave these seeds the title of the ‘Miracle drug’, so when he returned to Yemen, he was made a saint.This lead to it being introduced into the Arab world through Yemen.
During the spread of Coffee around the globe, the efforts of the British East India Company, coffee was made popular in England which inspired thee Queens lane coffee house in Oxford, established in 1654.

Due to research and medical testing, the only evidence that coffee gives you heath benefits is that a research was ran studying the lifespan or those who drink coffee and those who did not, proving theta those who drank coffee lived longer. This only applied through drinking healthy amounts of coffee though and not drinking too much as the death rate is high on people that drink too much coffee.However, lots more research is being done so that it can be proven that this is merely coincidence that these people live longer due to the proven facts that coffee leads to  potentially harmful effects upon consumption.
However, there few studies suggesting that coffee can help the risks of many medical conditions due to its anti-oxidants.

In 1996, drinking coffee was negatively associated with the risk of developing clinical depression.Apparently this is due to the fact coffee drastically alters your energy levels, to recreate a bipolar effect.You will be energetic for a short time and then all your levels will drop until your next coffee.
The fact that this was actually referred to as a drug aids in the comparison between coffee and drugs and the fact they are both addictive, and both act by stimulating your body for a short time before you experience what is known as a ‘come down’ which is basically a hangover, just not from alcohol(Coffee may not do this so drastically, but it still happens subtly).This is the after effects of drug use,which usually leaves people wanting to sleep and cry.Is it any coincidence that this is also symptoms of depression?

Conclusion to my research:

I’ve found that researching into tea and coffee has helped my work a lot as now i have found a difference between the people which drink tea and the people which drink coffee.
The people who drink coffee will be more active people, drinking coffee for the stimulant side that the caffeine provides and will either not be aware or not bothered of the heath issues coffee could do to their bodies,whereas the people who drink tea will be more calm and relaxed due to the relaxing ingredients in tea and will also be more aware of their health and in control of their bodies due to the many benefits on your health of drinking tea.
This means that when i am in a coffee house i can compare the variety of people and their drinks and hopefully translate the visible differences between the two and how they both live companied to one another.
For example, if everybody in my images of a cafe are drinking coffee, this shows that the tea drinkers are probably relaxing in the comfort of their own home instead of in a loud noisy coffee shop.

There’s many articles online which also argue this point, such as

Personally, i love the facts this person has provided,i’m not saying i am biased to tea, but it sure is making me.

I was set a task to go out to various cafe’s within a certain time limit, to go and gather images of a specific list of themes.

The kinds of images i needed to produce were as follows:
-A pair               ( I.E 2 cups )
-Opposites        (  Tea/ Coffee )
-Cliche              (  Male author on mac in coffee shop)
-Humor             (  Somebody telling joke/Being a joke )
-Shocking         (  Prices )
-Empathy          (  Spilling hot drink )
-Incongruent     (  Coffee inside tea cup )

Here are my results:


Cliche 1

I consider these images a cliche as stereotypically we expect to find teenagers in coffee houses, and we usually do!

Cliche 2_

The fact that In most of these images they have their mobile phones out just adds to the cliche.The idea of a teenager with a coffee and texting on their phone is a thing we see so often, that we expect to see it in the future. This turns it into a cliche.A stereotypical idea we have of teenage students.

Cliche 3

The three images above were taken on the Roundhouse campus and all of these were taken using a Nikon D700

Whereas the following images were taken in Starbucks and Greggs located in Pride Park ,Derby.

Unfortunately a member of staff at Starbucks located at the stadium in Pride Park was very aggressive when I had asked for permission to take images of objects inside the  café.

I was not impressed with the way they had dealt with the situation as the woman who was speaking on behalf of the manager had decided to take attitude for no reason. but I respected their demands and left.Luckily for me that’s when I came across Greggs as it was just around the corner and the staff there were very polite and allowed me to take images inside. Most images I took were from outside, but it’s nice  to know I have permission.


Cliche 5



Cliche 4



Humor 1Empathy/Shocking/Incongruent

Humor 2Humor

Incongruent 1Incongruent

Incongruent 2Incongruent

Opposites 1_Opposites

Pair 1Pair

Pair 2Pair

Shocking 1Shocking

Shocking 2Shocking