In February of last year, I took this photo of a man enjoying a quiet sake or two just a few metres from the hustle and bustle of noisy Ueno. At the time, black and white seemed to work best. A look I’m still very happy with. But recently, when re-evaluating The Drinkers section of my portfolio, I decided to see how it looked in colour. Like similar experiments with a Shinto priest and a young woman feeding a pigeon in an alleyway, the results are interesting, if not always conclusive.
The Priest portrait I now prefer in colour. No doubt about it whatsoever. The woman in the alleyway depends on what mood I’m in when I see it. And with this one I can’t make my mind up at all. There’s an extra warmth to the colour image that I like. It makes the man seem more content. At the same time, however, the more ageless element of the photo is lost somewhat.
What is for certain is that I got very lucky with the shot. Shortly after taking it, those wonderfully grubby windows were scrubbed clean. And sadly, with the grime went a considerable amount of the bar’s character.