Renowned Austrian photographer Klaus Pichler has established himself as a master of capturing the weird and wonderful underbelly of his native Vienna, and his latest series is no different. Golden Days Before They End, his latest work, explores the bars, inns and Branntweiner (small drinking venues that open early in the morning) and the barflies that inhabit them most of the time.
“The book is a swan song to these bars,” explains Edition Patrick Frey, the Swiss publisher which has created a book of 120 photos, with text by Clemens Marschall. “If you pass by, you hear loud laughter through the half-open door – and only very few walk in. Klaus and Clemens chose not to walk by, but to walk in… to document these parallel universes.”
Gritty, surreal, and at times both humorous and unnerving, the photos use a mixture of atmospheric lighting and blindingly bright flash, to simultaneously portray the high drama and unglamorous reality of these places.
Showing everything from the chalkboard outside, the dated interiors and the ubiquitous dartboard, the images documents an era of society that the publisher claims is fading.
“The furnishings often date from the 1960s, and some customers have been coming for as long. The only sign betraying the ravages of time, is people dying. And with them, these drinking dens. On countless wanderings through Vienna they found some of these places in their final throes… soon to disappear forever.”
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