Juxtaposed Nightlife Cultures
November 22, 2010 4:04 PM   Subscribe

Bar Portraits — Dignified gentlemen sit for their portraits in bars and cafes across Italy. Contrast that with The Waste Land, a series of intimate portraits of young intoxicated people, photographed during or after parties, festivals, and raves. Both are portrait projects of Piero Martinello.

Martinello's work is also included in PDF format.
posted by netbros (25 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
This guy's doppelganger used to frequent a coffee shop in my old neighborhood. Except that my guy's in his mid 20s and usually surrounded by a gaggle of his hipster cohorts.

Neat pictures. I wish there were more.
posted by phunniemee at 4:10 PM on November 22, 2010


Right. 'Cause old folks at bars and cafes are always dignified and young people at parties, festivals and raves are always wasted.
posted by docgonzo at 4:24 PM on November 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Right. 'Cause old folks at bars and cafes are always dignified and young people at parties, festivals and raves are always wasted.

Note: "Bar" does not mean the same thing in Italy that it means in the U.S.
posted by The World Famous at 4:32 PM on November 22, 2010


Note to future 70 year old self: Purchase a fedora immediately.
posted by gwint at 4:32 PM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


What docgonzo said.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 4:37 PM on November 22, 2010


These "dignified" old gents are simply the aged versions of the young wasters in the other set of portraits? It's difficult to be a hammerhead after age 60, but you can still hang around the scenes of your former inebriation, where, even if you can't drink, you can loiter without having what's left of your brain challenged by intelligent conversation.
posted by Faze at 4:42 PM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Old people get drunk like this. Young people get drunk like this.
posted by munchingzombie at 5:42 PM on November 22, 2010


Who would have thought a post about drink would hit a raw nerve here?
posted by maxwelton at 5:48 PM on November 22, 2010


I really don't think there is any fair way to 'contrast' snapshot photos in a dark nightclub full of dancing people to well composed, carefully lit, full color portrait sittings. It's a classic apples-to-really-crappy-apples comparison.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 5:48 PM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


He should do a set of old people reading the newspaper the next morning, and then one of young people texting.

You know that author that people keep posting about here, the one that doesn't use any adjectives? He should teach photographers how to write about their projects.
posted by snofoam at 6:17 PM on November 22, 2010


How does he get consent (for the wasted youngsters)?

I would say those older folks still drink. They were found at a drinking establishment, right? Their eyes and wrinkles (not the existence of them, but the placement of them) give insights.

Also, I would say the youngsters are still amateurs, drinking to the point of active self endangerment.
posted by el io at 6:30 PM on November 22, 2010


snofam: good artists excel at their own mediums. I get the impression that market requirements force them to try to be writers and describe what should be indescribable.
posted by el io at 6:31 PM on November 22, 2010


Well, the portraits in the bar is serious portraiture. The images of the young kids are marginal at best, and one could infer that the some of the shots were exagerated for the sake of the project-- if only by spontaneity. If you look to the rest of his portfolio, you find that his lighting technique for headshots are quite effective; but it is only the shots of the older gentleman in the bars that break from his strict headshot trend.
posted by captainsohler at 6:36 PM on November 22, 2010


What currency is that that has a picture of Ben Kingsley on it? Far out.

Seriously, there are some great, great faces in there. The Italian workers, very cool.
posted by Xoebe at 6:46 PM on November 22, 2010


Good portraits, facile commentary from the photographer.
posted by everichon at 7:10 PM on November 22, 2010


As a bartender, the more I watch other people drink, the less I drink myself.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:23 PM on November 22, 2010


How bout as a monkey?
posted by grobstein at 8:07 PM on November 22, 2010


The Waste Land strikes me as a little contrived and overwrought. They look to me like the sort of pictures you sometimes get of everyone, everywhere. The ones where you catch them mid-blink, in the middle of a word that has their lips in a strange position, and in an awkward pose in the middle of a body motion that looks normal in real-time.

Add to that some crazy exposure, and hey, instant commentary on the self-destruction of modern youth! It'd be more compelling if it were a little more subtle.
posted by CaseyB at 8:14 PM on November 22, 2010


How bout as a monkey?

My inner monkey smokes
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:53 PM on November 22, 2010


This is really not as poignant as you might think; il bar is not the same as your neigborhood dive in America. It's mostly a place for coffee, pastries, and the occasional apertif. No one (and I mean no one) gets drunk at what Italians call a bar.
posted by daniel striped tiger at 11:38 PM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Bah.
posted by seagull.apollo at 12:43 AM on November 23, 2010


If the wording from the FPP had come from the poster and not from the originating websites, it'd be flagged as editorialising, and rightly so.

This is immensely shallow.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:52 AM on November 23, 2010


As a bartender, the more I watch other people drink, the less I drink myself.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 3:23 AM on November 23


As a drinker, the more I watch self-righteous non-drinkers, the more I drink.

Still, those young people in the pics are pretty shocking. Youngsters getting off their tits on a variety of intoxicants while listening to loud electric music? That never used to happen in my day. Oh wait...

I really hate the stench of neo-puritanism that surrounds the enjoyment of alcohol, these days. It reminds me of the bleach they used to use at my old junior school.
posted by Decani at 3:32 AM on November 23, 2010


It's difficult to be a hammerhead after age 60, but you can still hang around the scenes of your former inebriation, where, even if you can't drink, you can loiter without having what's left of your brain challenged by intelligent conversation.
posted by Faze at 12:42 AM on November 23


See, it's shit like this. It's shit. Like . This.

This is a level of sneering prejudice that would be flagged to hell and back if it had been about some social subculture other than bar patrons. I go to bars, Faze, and the people I go to bars with could intelligently converse you right out of the door. And believe me, we'd take great pleasure in doing so. Fie on your dismissive condescension.
posted by Decani at 3:38 AM on November 23, 2010


Personally, I neither abstain nor look down on the enjoyment of alcohol in others. I'm sipping a Fat Tire as I type this.

But from my professional perch which happens to include a variety of locations on a regular basis, I get to see a whole variety of people consuming alcohol of various types.

Happy, witty people who can handle their liquor are a joy.

But I also get to watch when people with bad relationships to alcohol drink. And most of the problems I see around bad relationships between people and alcohol — social, physiological, and/or aesthetic — all have one thing in common: volume consumed, followed by frequency. And "more" is usually the problem.

I watch week in, week out, what bad relationships with alcohol look like. I watch it in my patrons and I watch it in my cow-orkers. I know myself to be a lightweight, and I know I have relatives who have struggled with alcoholism. And alcohol attracts people prone to bad relationships with it. It's a fucking plague on my industry.

I'm not a teetotalling, finger-wagger who thinks only a shabby thug or some gin-soaked slattern would be the kind of person to let alcohol touch their lips.

I'm the guy shaking the cocktail, pouring the wine, cracking the beer...

And watching —over and over, with fractal-like patterns of repetition and variation — what it looks/sounds/smells like when somebody and/or their friend(s) night has just turned that corner into booze-soaked ugly. And when you've worked this industry long enough, you can usually tell who's stumbling because it's amateur night and they didn't know what they were doing, and who has staggered through this rodeo before and is well familiar with the steps.

And from that perspective, with that degree of self-understanding, I say with no sense of self-righteousness, or of condemnation:

The more I watch other people drink, the less I drink myself.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:00 PM on November 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


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