Photography Blog

Anonymous Men


We push open the cheap-looking door and walk into the bar. I notice immediately the man sitting behind the counter. Backlit, the man is more of a shadow than a solid, recognizable face. For some reason I make the instant assumption that he is the owner of this place. I suspect it's the way he runs his fingers across the spines of the records (there are hundreds, most probably thousands of them) on the shelves. Unable to see his face or enter his head, I imagine him recollecting, feeling, and then, as certainty, emotion and perhaps a wave of wistful regret seize him, he picks out just the right record for the moment.

The music comes on. They are dim, orange, atmospheric melodies, beats and songs from another time. We sit there gripped, wondering if this is one of those "perfect moments" other people are always going on about, but also afraid, because every perfect moment is also fragile.

The owner/man is smoking a cigarette, and now I can see his face. There is an expression on him that I can’t read. He really is right out of a novel, which is an often used expression for describing men (or women) who are so sculpted, carelessly immaculate, cinematic and raw in their physicality, in their existence, that it's hard not to wonder about them and their various histories, and perhaps the most important questions of all: Where are they from and where are they going?

There is an ongoing conversation between him and an anonymous man sitting on the other side of the counter, but who am I kidding? Everyone in this city is anonymous, at least to me, and I am of course anonymous to them, which makes things seem alot more lonelier than they really are. 

Rebecca TohComment