Joking around, still digging that sound"
Saint Etienne, Marios Cafe
I’ve been photographing Saint Etienne since 2000, after being a fan throughout the 90s, kicked off by one of the greatest covers of all time, Neil Young’s Only Love Can Break Your Heart.
It was years before I realised Mario’s Cafe was...real. And more importantly, still open. When I finally visited, there stood a man with an acoustic guitar playing to half a dozen people. That man was of course Mario and the people his faithful, of which we are many.
I love Saint Etienne. The Words and Music, well, they’re there if you want them. If you need them, and I always have. Mario meanwhile is the loveliest man in the world, so no wonder he runs the friendliest cafe in the world. How beautiful that it goes back three generations to 1958 when here at 6 Kelly Street, grandfather Mario opened Tony’s Restaurant for his son, our Mario’s Dad and whose birthday it is this very day. It’s my favourite cafe.
Out of love, as well as in love, I shot these 15 photographs between 2000 and 2021, mainly in London, but also Manchester, Leamington Spa and Birmingham. There are thousands of others. 14 made it into Saint Etienne’s own very beautiful book published a few years back. One made it as the image on a CD inlay tray on one of the band’s releases. Most are entirely unseen.
It’s also the first time I’ve used photographic paper made from 90% bamboo fibres, making it the most environmentally friendly paper that I could find. Each photograph is available in an addition of just two, with one further artist’s print. For all enquiries, please email or write via Instagram.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / Instagram: @johnnyintheechocafe