In 1968 in Hamburg a Swedish photographer named Anders Petersen walked into a bar near the red-light boulevard Reeperbahn, at the end of “die sündige Meile” (“the sinful mile”). He sat down, had a beer and got chatting to a man. He popped the the loo, leaving his camera on the table as he went (in a bar full of sailors, stokers, dockers, cabdrivers, transvestites, alcoholics, prostitutes, striptease dancers and pimps – I know, SENSELESS!) and when he returned, the camera had not been stolen! Oh and the patrons of the bar were using the camera to take pictures of each other. So he seized the opportunity to take pictures of them himself, too.
“The people at the Café Lehmitz had a presence and a sincerity that I myself lacked. It was okay to be desperate, to be tender, to sit all alone or share the company of others. There was a great warmth and tolerance in this destitute setting.”
“My first exhibition was staged at the Lehmitz. Three hundred and fifty pictures. Kurt the barman and me had agreed that if people recognized themselves in the pictures, they could keep them.” ~ Anders Petersen
Oh yeah and it’s the cover of Raindogs innit. I do like ‘social documentary photography’ and characters. Though I don’t think I’d go in this bar, it looks a bit too riddeled with STDs and sleazy for my liking!