As I candidly photographed the interior of Little Skips, a quaint local coffee shop located in Bushwick Brooklyn, a part of me felt contrite for having sold the small and rugged gem that was the Canon G11. The creative possibilities are endless and exciting in using a small camera like this or even the iPhone in view that you can get away more with photographing in low-key environments as oppose to potentially have people shying away when you’re aiming at them with a dSLR.
It’s rare the instance in which you won’t come across something funny, quirky or beautiful and those are the moments you want to have any type camera with you but more so if it’s one that’s not an inconvenience to carry. On this particular outing, I left the D90 behind and reminded myself that it’s the relationship between the photographer and the place that’s ultimately important and not so much the camera.
In case you haven’t noticed yet, I have this inherent attraction towards coffee shops and whenever a new one in the neighborhood pops up via Yelp or word of mouth, I’m destined to pay a visit. I’ve dropped by several already but it’s recently that I considered photographing the setting which I regret not having done much before.
The one deed I don’t do is to secretly photograph and immediately leave. I can probably get away with it and feel less guilty about doing it at a Starbucks but when it comes to local coffee shops, the likelihood the barista behind the counter preparing your latte or Americano is the owner is very high which is what I appreciate.
No one is going to care more about providing you with great coffee, comfortable seats for relaxing, free internet access and laptop outlets as much as the owner. Having the opportunity to come face-to-face with the owner of an establishment is rare nowadays but that certainly wasn’t the case today. Before even taking one single shot, I placed my order for a toasted multigrain bagel and a cappuccino and hoped my order would take long so I would have an excuse for wandering freely photographing.
With the iPhone, I really try and I think I’ve succeeded in not getting overwhelmed with needing to download every new camera app that debuts. Very much like my loyalty towards Lightroom, I’ve used Camera+ enough that I’m convinced it has everything I will ever need for managing my photographs so I don’t bother experimenting with anything else. The combination of effects I applied using Camera+ to every photo taken in Little Skips was: Scene: Clarity, Effects: Overlay, Borders: Viewfinder.
Granted that every photo I took could have been shot without having bought anything or even making the owner aware that I was a photographer but the fact that I did opened up the opportunity for developing a relationship that would make me come back even more. The coffee shop isn’t targeted towards anyone in particular, rather to everyone in some way. The armrest of the sofa I sat on had the biggest tears you would never want a guest to catch sight of but it was those same oddities that made Little Skips rare and special at the same time.
It’s difficult to say whether I’ve discovered my favorite coffee shop but I secretly hope I never do because that gives me the incentive in searching and photographing more.