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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.