Morning Coffee


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Dec 11, 2006
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This picture is not as casual as it looks - and I've tried.
Red Emma's Bookstore Coffeehouse is advertised as a 'Workers cooperative radical bookstore, vegan/vegetarian restaurant, and coffee roaster in Baltimore.'
The bookstore carries mostly books in the area you can interpret from its drscription and from knowing a little bit about Red Emma herself.
Red Emma was Emma Goldman (1869 – May 14, 1940) was an anarchist known for her political activism, writing, and speeches. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the 20th century.
The cafe/bookstore used to be in a small space located in a medium nice area right around the corner from Peabody Conservatory close to downtown Baltimore.
Two or three years ago the cafe was relocated to the Station North district, on the corner of Charles and North Avenue. This is a burgeoning arts area, near Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), yet most of the housing around there is definitely working class.
I like it there because the lighting is great as is the people watching.
It is ironic that the cafe is 'for the workers' yet their customer base is totally middle or upper middle class from the local arts community and MICA (tuition 40K/year) and the locals don't come in because the prices are a bit high.
Over the last two years I've tried to get shots that display theat dichotomy but .....
I have to be careful shooting because people get irritated ...........

This picture is interesting in another way, I think.
I was having a discussion with someone who insists that 'a good photographer gets it right in the camera.'
There is noooooo way to get this SOOC with one exposure.
The dynamic range is wide and, unless you are absolutely ready to shoot quick bracketed exposures and merge them, even an hdr image isn't really posssible.
So I underexposed the inside, which resulted in an over-exposed outside and the raw file could be managed enough to get a reasonable final result.
(shot with OMD 5 and 12-35 lens.)
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Lew, constructively in meaning, I suggest these shots would have been better set, with no one outside the window. Then the window is not a distraction. Also you may have wanted the outside scene to contrast the inside activity. Just thoughts. Ed
Actually, I really like the second shot in part *because* of the people outside. You've got all those people outside, interacting, moving around--and then this one dude inside, sitting perfectly still, alone with his coffee and his book, seemingly oblivious to all that is going on just outside the window.
.. the locals don't come in because the prices are a bit high.

What "prices"?

Everything should be free. FREE!!!!! I tell you!

Throw off the chains of the greedy capitalist pigs! Burn their factories, bridges, and houses!

Eat all their food, drink their coffee, sleep in their beds!

Smoke 'em if you've got 'em.

That is all.
I agree with what Sharon said.

Plus, 2 totally different types if people, in different social and economical classes.

It makes me think, are they REALLY separated?

One is outside in the cold, one inside in the warmth, yet they can see each other through the clear window, however does the single guy WANT to see what is outside the window?

Are they separated by just a window or much more?

I "feel" something by looking at the photo, thus...I like it!
Thanks both for looking and the thoughtful responses.

.. the locals don't come in because the prices are a bit high.
Everything should be free. FREE!!!!! I tell you!

From the care in which they prepare the coffee and the long descriptions of how it is grown and gathered, my impression is that each individual bean is placed in a separate padded carton and send by first class air directly from Colombia.

Red Emma's is a collective, owned and governed by all the members.
As part of their dues to the collective, they must work so many hours a week.
They do take credit cards and accept tips - which seems against the spirit of the place but who am I to judge?
I like both but the second really keeps my attention. I think it's the way the processing rendered the people outside: it looks almost like an acrylic painting.

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