Portraits from the Pub with an Olympus E-M5
By René van Wijck
After many years of making photographs I got a little bored by it and I lost my inspiration.
Two years ago I bought myself the Olympus OMD-EM5. This little machine changed my life! It was and is such a pleasure to work with that I have it all the time, wherever I am with me.
I work as a bartender downtown Rotterdam in Holland and started to make pictures of my guests. They all come alone to the pub, and most of the time leave alone.
I gave myself a few rules: no color,no flash,no drinks in the pictures. Most of them I shot with the 45 mm 1.8. I’ll hope you like the results!
You can see more of it on flickr.com/photos/renevanwijck
Hope I didn’t miss this question but, how did you accomplish the Black and White? In Camera? Photoshop? Lightroom? Just curious.
These are very expressive, captivating portraits, and their power resides in how much they suggest without fully revealing. Great job and continue capturing more souls!
Color set please! Great work.
excellent stuff, love the dark tones
stunning collection of captures …each face appears to be relating a story of life …..and each story is different ….
very inspiring collection …..:)
Very impressive photo’s, alarming picture of what drinking and smoking does with people
Great shots of a great bunch of characters. Very sharp images. I had an EM-5, now use the EM-1 – but it’s the lenses, man, the lenses. And the bloke behind the lenses. In this case, a guy with a good eye. And the light in the eyes of these folks comes through.
Great pictures, thank you for sharing. A bit depressing nonetheless.
So good. Yeah, those eyes!
There’s a lot of character coming through in these images. Great job – well done
Well done, really enjoy this one!
These are awesome! _So_ much character in each and every portrait.
Just my selfish request: How about some shots with more context/background?
A bunch of close-up head shots are like a meal of fine cheeses — they benefit from a bit of variety in between.
You have a great talent! Please do another post in the future.
Very nice images. Inspires me to try black and white again – back where I started many decades ago.
And… stopped smoking years ago.
And this is why I stopped going to the pub years ago….
You don’t have to get drunk every time you go to a pub, don’t you know? 🙂
Beautiful portraits in a haunting way–and I quite like your B&W treatment. I must say, however, that I prefer the ones where the tops of the heads are not cut off…was this an intentional style choice, or a “too close with the 45” choice?
Keep up the great work,
Jezus zit ik te zuipen met die rot koppen?
René, uitstekend photos……but the lens is a bit long I think. There is not enough flesh from the surrounding, aka bar. For me in such situations, in m4/3 terms a 20mm lens delivers more ‘flesh’.
But hey, the next visit is waiting…. 😉
Don’t forget the Flickr plug! Oh, you didn’t.
A great work ! thank you for sharing this mood of yours, it smells like family !
“Unsettling”? Some rather serious pathology in those pictures. Fantastic…!
Awesome! i would love to see a color set too. Great work.
Very insightful and humane portraits. excellent work.
Wow, my Rotterdam friends have aged considerably! Just joking. Great shots, shot up close as they should be. They’re not pretty but then, who is?
yeah, probably not pretty but they dare to leave home. you should see the other ones to become really frightened 🙂
Great job. Each face has its own story. Well done.
Whoa some these fellas have seen better days! Well documented – lekker photos!
Just plain misery – all messed up – no future – no perspectives!
Excellent characters excellent shots
Wow, very direct, very gritty. A wonderful set of characters and I confess, just a bit unsettling.
Don’t rest on a post, or your obviously very talented laurels; gather more faces of character and turn your classics into a book – and leave a copy of it on the bar. Who knows? The Pub might well become a Gallery one day. Go for it – and give that 45/1,8 Zuiko a well-deserved pat: for its price, we should all have two just in case we lose one.
In college, I used to take photos in bars for extra spending money. Shoot a person, make an 8×10 print, and come back a week later on the same day of the week to sell the print. On other rule that Rene implicitly followed: NEVER shoot couples unless you know they’re married; never shoot groups unless those in the group request it! Since in the bar I frequented I knew the bartender and was considered a regular, about 8 out of 10 people can’t resist buying an 8×10 of themselves in their favorite bar.
Real people in pubs.
First time I’m encountering a bartender who’s also a portraitist, and a hugely adept one, at that, OMD EM5 / 45mm f1.8 notwithstanding (a terrific combination – I use the E-PL5 and the same killer lens). Superb work, mate !
B/W fine for them all, but do I detect some big nose distortion in some of the closer portraits?
Yes, it’s called acute alcoholism.
Fabulous portraits, look great in black and white and the lightings awesome too!
I love these photos.
Great photos that make me think. I once saw an older man in the pub alone, WAY back when i was 21 or so. I thought to myself, please god I hope I’m never so alone that I end up in a pub drinking alone.
Fast forward 2 decades…now I think that if one has time to go chill in the pub alone, they have a pretty relaxed and probably nice life. Probably not everyone, but for sure some people just like having a pint, without the pressure of lifelong friends being up their ass 🙂