Lately, I've spent a lot of time looking through the glass of pub windows. In particular, the kind of windows in traditional British pubs with cut-glass decorations. The sort that twist, distort and blur your view and when photographed produce images like the ones in this series.
Studying the results has led me to recognise interesting similarities to the effects of drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. Most obviously is how vision is twisted, distorted and blurred with intoxication, much like the effects of the glass on the photographs. The fragmented images also mirror the memory loss incurred after a session of heavy drinking along with their areas of blur and abstraction. Scenes, busy with detail are reduced to shards of information in the mind and through the glass. And vague memories of social encounters can remain little more than fragile, shadowy outlines that cannot be built upon.
This series has also led me to explore my own relationship with alcohol, especially during my youth when I spent a lot of time in a state of near comatose from intoxication. In large, this is due to my particularly low tolerance to alcohol coupled with a culture of drinking to excess which was peaking during the late 90s and 00s. During my late teenage years I would drink every night for what seems like fortnights at a time with minimal gaps in between. Doorman rarely checked for genuine ID, a borrowed birth certificate or forged student card was enough to gain access to pubs and clubs. Inside, bars would sell alcopops, a new craze at the time. They were disgustingly sweet but palatable to the teen and sold in discounted bulk.
Whatever your thoughts on binge and underage drinking, it seems as though this very British cultural trait is in recession as is drinking in Pubs altogether. Many traditional pubs across the UK close every week due to falling numbers of clientele. For me, part of the draw of photographing pubs, is their declination and a sense of duty to document this fading cultural tradition.