Feb 18, 2013

The Wandering Melbournian: Part 1

by Chris Vlahonasios

A five-part collection of photos taken during one glorious afternoon in the great city of Melbourne, Australia.

The goal was to not to take “tourist pictures” but capture snapshots of the elements that make up Melbourne. However, what gives a city its character is not chosen by accident; they are influenced by the history and culture of the individuals who make it their home.

If you understand the city you will understand the people.


For the complete series, go to: 

Part 1: Coffee
Melbourne’s love affair with coffee is unquestionable. An essential social convention it has been ingrained into our culture thanks to the large population of Italians and Greeks. Competition for the best baristas is fierce and a Melbournian will not tolerate an average coffee.

Each café is individually owned giving the owner the opportunity to create a unique sense of hospitality and ambience which matches their clientele’s self-worth. With this in mind I wondered what is the one feature that speaks volumes about the owner, the café and the customers? It is the one thing they all have but varies greatly: the seating. It is an indictor of the owner’s sense of style and how much they value the customers’ comfort whilst they engage in this important social activity.

Every seat awaits its guest.


Royale
Tucked away in one of Melbourne’s iconic laneways, this setting is definitely awaiting a couple. These bamboo chairs bound in chocolate-and-white checkers, are sophisticated, desirable waiting patiently. The elegant white marble tabletop illuminates brightly supported by a fanciful cast-iron leg. Boutique and stylish yet not clashing with the funky graffiti artwork. The chalice encrusted in gems – how kings drink their lattes? Maybe this is a place for bourgeoisie hipsters.











5 minutes or less
Utilitarianism: it’s just a coffee. Cold. Sterile. Rigid. Comfort non existent. The bare minimum. Bolted plates and jagging rods screaming “Get off me!” as you sit. Not a place for winter or summer. For the office worker and the “friend” he cares little during their smoko; just somewhere to drink their coffee. Steel surface. No sugar, bitter coffee. Soulless chairs without a mark. Flimsy and light: easy to move, so easy to avoid.










Good friends
Small intimidate table surrounded by friends with big hearts. Worn out and faded after long in-depth discussions about life, loss and love. Not a place to eat but to reminisce. A place for conversation. Stained timber, natural and timeless, just like good friendships. If only these chairs could talk.














Just one
The grandest seat for the loneliest moment of the day. A table for someone waiting for that special someone to come along; till then it’s them and the cigarette. Stuck in a corner with sugar to sweeten the heart of the lonely smoker.














Old favourites
Recycled and re-loved, given a second chance. Although their external is hard they offer genuine hospitality. Bright blue and orange are not their original colours but the owner has given them a new life. They might be seen as the chairs of last resort but the owner saw great potential. Is that rust bleeding through or is it character?













Glutton
Well pressed and grooved, this is the place to sit and eat. This place means business, coffee comes later.

















Photos were taken using the 5MP camera in the Nokia C5-03 mobile phone.

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