Cafés in the major European conurbations – from Amsterdam to Budapest, Paris to Milan, Barcelona to Vienna – have been well celebrated and documented. The Balkan countries, however, have been largely ignored. In Balkan Caffeination Paul Kelly and Fred Shively go off the beaten track to examine and document the café culture of four Balkan countries – Romania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia.
Getting under the skin of café culture in the Balkans, through its neighbourhood joints and their denizens, Paul and Fred hear the stories from, and of, the people who dispense this most aromatic and social beverage. They also trace the evolution of ‘café society’ in the Balkans; from tiny, traditional coffee shops and grand cafés, to chic, sleek, new venues housing an artisanal third wave of coffee as cult and culture.
As for the images, Paul and Fred endeavoured to capture what is real. Not just the art nouveau/art deco splendour of the grand cafes, not the usual sidewalk-umbrella-beautiful-people snaps, but telling portraits of human faces and interaction.
Paul Kelly and Fred Shively have been professional communicators, sometimes photographers, always café/coffee lovers and insatiable travellers/flaneurs for more years than many of you have had… hot drinks.