words and photos by Scot Zimmerman
Sundance Film Festival is a time our area fills with interesting people. In addition to seeing the films and the discussions that follow, one of my favorite things about the yearly event is casual conversation with strangers. It just starts with questions like, “What have you seen that is interesting? Or, Have you just arrived?” Soon there are stories. I especially enjoy talking to young people who have worked on a film and their excitement and enthusiasm about the future.
Thinking about casual conversations inspired my bar blog. It may seem like a leap, but I didn’t have photos of lines, rows of theater seats, and town buses where I have had so many of these conversations. Instead, I’ll think of myself as a man-about-town hitting the nightlife for engaging conversations.
Park City’s Elliott Work Group prepared the architectural and interior designs for the renovated space for The Spur located along Main Street Park City. I made these photos (the opening shot and the preceding) during the mild December days this winter.
The spaces are divided up so each is sized for friendly interaction. Street level is the long bar, a few tables, and the kitchen. (Opening shot).
Behind, down a hallway with a glass showcase is another space. It has an additional alleyway entrance, its own square bar, and serves as an area for the Spur’s live entertainment.
On the top level is another bar and large seating area dedicated more to food service connected to an outdoor seating area through disappearing sliding doors with a perch above Main Street. I thought at the time of making the photos that it would be a perfect place to sit and observe during Festival.
From the technical side, the challenges of photographing bars are twofold. For the photographer, there is serious contrast between the windowless interior and the outside. The photo stylist has the other challenge. By nature, bars are cluttered. While the back bar can be arranged aesthetically, the bar staff needs to have glasses, ice, napkins, and garnishes handy for their fast-paced work. Some of this can be straightened and hidden, but it is difficult while the bar is open. My stylist and I compensate by lining up the chairs and tables, including the slats on the tables and the legs on pivoting stools very straight and linear to the camera angle.
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