Steam & Dark

I confess – this is one of my favourite photos. My fingers froze to the bone while I tried to get exactly what I wanted from what I saw but it was worth it in the end. I was walking home down the hill on a cold night and ahead of me was the cheese shop. The interior, normally quite glacial, must have been sluiced with hot water not long before I arrived, causing a lot of steam.

The colours were worthy of Caravaggio and the way the lighting interacted with the steam was pure theatre. There’s no blur or smudge applied to this picture – this is as was. Never have strings of saucissons looked so good.


This cafe remained dark and silent for many weeks after closing. One evening, I came by and saw these chairs stacked in the window.

Reflections of other buildings and lights across the street made for an interesting added dimension. It was like a movie stage for a film noir – I half expected a homburg-wearing gumshoe, wreathed in cigarette smoke, to emerge from the gloom.

All Photographs © Rachel Cowan

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