Portrait Series: Adolescent Drinking

No one in Denmark knows what the drinking age is. I've asked multiple people. At first, I heard 18 to buy beer and get into clubs. Then, someone said at 15 they can buy beer and at 18 they can buy liquor and get into clubs. And then someone else told me they thought it was 16 to buy, but there was no law against consuming alcohol at any age.

I'm just going to take all this inconsistent information to mean that it doesn't really matter at what age you drink alcohol because it's not very well enforced. Which is fine by me, the girl who turned 21 two weeks before coming to this country.

Last week during our workshop with Sigrid Nygaard, we worked a lot on portraits. We were assigned to do a portrait series over two days that was tied together with a common theme.

I had this idea in my head that I would go to this men's leather bar downtown that had primarily gay clientele. The bar wasn't open until Thursday, the night before the assignment was due, so I was a bit nervous about it and tried to make some other portraits at back-ups. They all fell through, so it was a Hail Mary photo shoot when I went out that night.

However, right before I left, I realized that the bar wasn't really a bar — it was more like a club where men came to have sex, dressed in leather and such. Like a fetish club. I was mortified and didn't even want to go anymore, but I had no choice since I waited so long. Thankfully, one of my friends, Sophie Göst, offered to go along with me. I was really appreciative.

As is expected, the club wouldn't let us in without consent from all of their members. I had emailed them the week before (no phone number available) but no reply. The man we talked to was very nice and said he would email me back today (which he did) but he'd have to turn us away for tonight.

So, Sophie and I set out on the streets to find a last minute photo story. About 10 minutes later, we miraculously stumbled upon a bunch of drunk 15 and 16 year olds hanging out outside the bar. It was chaotic, but since everyone was being social and drinking it was a breeze taking pictures of them. I made this technique with a direct flash zoomed into 80mm on TTL. Thank goodness I found those kids otherwise I might have been without portrait subjects for the night. It isn't my best assignment, but under the student circumstances I put myself through, I am quite satisfied.