photographer | filmmaker

Coffee & Strangers

Added on by Vinoth Varatharajan.
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This project served as a critical advancement for me as an individual to break my social anxiety issues by approaching strangers. 

The setup was simple. I asked the customers if they are prepared for a portrait shot right there and then by the time their beverage is ready. A very few said no but a large number were very open. 

In case you are not familiar with La Distributrice, the shop reinvents the takeout coffee service by taking over the smallest commercial space in Montréal. Next to one of the most popular subway station, a barista serves you espresso, americano and latté directly on the street. However, they do have a tiny lovers bench next to the shop for a more relaxed indulgence.

Those who sat down for a chat had some remarkable stories ranging from an art student struggling to find his voice to a man who is battling sobriety and heading towards recovery after losing his brother.

That day was truly a remarkable experience. I tried to capture the unguarded honesty by eliminating the selfie smiles, thus focusing on the eyes.  

I incorporated the coffee shop to act as an intermediary to my anxiety issues and to justify that I can drag a successful business to lend support if the idea is pitched correctly. 

Thank you for those who participated on this project!

Visual identity and design concept of the shop on Behance. Find La Distributrice on Urban Spoon. Below are some photos covering the event. 

Tech: I used 2 bodies for this project. For portraits - Canon T2i with vintage Nikkor-S 50mm 1.4 with Fotodiox lens adapter. Nikon D5000 with 35mm 1.8 for documenting. Available lights.