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The Enghave Portrait Project

28 April 2015 by Hazel

This is a guest article by Robert Thomason. All words and photos from this point on are his. 

My name is Robert Thomason, I am an expat from the UK and have been living in Copenhagen since 2002. Five years ago I started a photo project, publishing one photo a day, taken on that day. I called this photo journal “Copenhagen & Me” and found myself on a never ending mission around my adoptive city and the world of photography.

In early 2014 I decided to start including people in my photographic documentation and wanted to try my hand at portraiture. I had to think of an reason to ask strangers for a portrait and came up with the concept of The Enghave Portrait Project. I have lived in the Enghave part of Vesterbro for 14 years now and I love the place. It’s a vibrant and dynamic area and there always seems to be something going on in the neighbourhood, especially in the summer time. There is a lively bar and café culture so you’re never more than a few paces from a unique place to grab a drink (no chains or franchises here)!

My idea was to take a portrait from each of the shops and businesses around Enghave Plads, where there is currently a large building site for the new metro underground line. The metro company award grants to local art projects to cover the green walls around these building sites, so I applied for one and was given the money to take my concept to the real world. In the list of criteria it said that projects that were local and community oriented would get higher priority. That really was the inspiration for my idea.

Mounting of the pictures, The Enghave Portraits Project, Robert Thomason, Mad About Copenhagen
Mounting of the pictures, The Enghave Portraits Project, Robert Thomason, madaboutcopenhagen


The folk at Byens Hegn arranged for the 14 portraits to be mounted last August (2014) on sections 3.5 & 3.6 on the plan of Enghave Plads below. The original arrangement was that they would remain there for 6 months but I have now been told they will be moved to a more prominent position in May 2015, to sections 1.1 & 1.2 for a further few months. Here are a few of us putting up the pictures last August. The smiley chap in the hi-vis is Christoffer from Byens Hegn. I’m in the rugby top.

Plan of metro wall sections, The Enghave Portraits Project, Robert Thomason, Mad About Copenhagen
Plan of metro wall sections, The Enghave Portraits Project, Robert Thomason, madaboutcopenhagen
Christoffer from Byens Hegn, The Enghave Portraits Project, Robert Thomason, Mad About Copenhagen
Christoffer from Byens Hegn, The Enghave Portraits Project, Robert Thomason, madaboutcopenhagen
Mounting the pictures, The Enghave Portraits Project, Robert Thomason, Mad About Copenhagen
Mounting the pictures, The Enghave Portraits Project, Robert Thomason, madaboutcopenhagen

Of the 14 shops that are featured in the project, 7 of them are unique food/drink type establishments and all of them are worth a visit. Hazel contacted me and has asked me to give my impressions of the these places and people for this article, so here goes…

Portrait of Henrik, Café Navnløs, The Enghave Portraits Project, Robert Thomason, Mad About Copenhagen
Portrait of Henrik, Café Navnløs, The Enghave Portraits Project, Robert Thomason, madaboutcopenhagen


Kaffebarren Uden Navn/Cafe Navnlos (The Nameless Cafe): Henrik

One of the more unique cafés around, the rough and ready appearance adds to a very cosy atmosphere and is a great place to enjoy a coffee. Henrik is the owner and believes in sourcing only the best coffee beans available, depending on season, type and region. There is also home baked bread and pastries in the morning.


Portrait of Mia, Kaffe Plantagen, The Enghave Portraits Project, Robert Thomason, Mad About Copenhagen
Portrait of Mia, Kaffe Plantagen, The Enghave Portraits Project, Robert Thomason, madaboutcopenhagen


Kaffe Plantagen (The Coffee Plantation): Mia

A smart and stylish café, Kaffe Plantagen has free wi-fi and feels a bit like a Starbucks, but in a good way. Quiet and spacious, many people come to work or study with a coffee and some cookies. Mia, like all the staff here, was as charming and as helpful as can be hoped for, a perfect model and waitress.


Portrait of Petúr, Café Snork, The Enghave Portraits Project, Robert Thomason, Mad About Copenhagen
Portrait of Petúr, Café Snork, The Enghave Portraits Project, Robert Thomason, madaboutcopenhagen


Cafe Snork: Petur

Café Snork is actually a pub and more like an English “local” than any of the pubs I’ve been to in here in Copenhagen. In the winter it’s a very cosy and welcoming place to grab a beer and in the summer the large space outside is the perfect for soaking up the sun and, if you’re lucky, catch a bit of live jazz. Petúr is a barman and just one of the friendly and colourful characters you’ll find here.


Portrait of Allan, Enghave Café, The Enghave Portraits Project, Robert Thomason, Mad About Copenhagen
Portrait of Allan, Enghave Café, The Enghave Portraits Project, Robert Thomason, madaboutcopenhagen


Enghave Kaffe: Allan

This charming and rustic café is run by three motor bike enthusiasts (hence the helmets behind Allan in the portrait) and they are just as enthusiastic about their café. It is a bit a sanctuary from the modern world with absolutely no wi-fi and I even think mobile phones are frowned upon.


Portrait of Lotte, Enghave Deli, The Enghave Portraits Project, Robert Thomason, Mad About Copenhagen
Portrait of Lotte, Enghave Deli, The Enghave Portraits Project, Robert Thomason, madaboutcopenhagen


Enghave Deli: Lotte

A fine delicatessen with a great range of cheeses, meats and specialities, as well as excellent made-to-order sandwiches. This family run business is everything your local delicatessen should be and a great alternative to the supermarket. Lotte was my first portrait in the series and it was mainly because of how friendly and positive she was.


Portrait of Emil, Bageriet Brød, The Enghave Portraits Project, Robert Thomason, Mad About Copenhagen
Portrait of Emil, Bageriet Brød, The Enghave Portraits Project, Robert Thomason, madaboutcopenhagen


Bageriet Brod: Emil

Emil is the manager and head baker of this artisan bakery. The bread is of the rustic variety and has won high praise and rave reviews in the short time it has been open, with many calling it the town’s best bread – I won’t disagree. The impressive looking pastries are also rather good.


Portrait of Hakan, YHK, The Enghave Portraits Project, Robert Thomason, Mad About Copenhagen
Portrait of Hakan, YHK, The Enghave Portraits Project, Robert Thomason, madaboutcopenhagen


YCH: Hakan

YCH is a pizza parlour on a mission to constantly improve service and quality, they mark this in percentage terms on the wall. Their menu is a little different from your standard pizza house with some very nice twists to the norm. For example, one of their pizzas has sesame seeds on the base, which works surprisingly well.