Happy hour is a marketing term for a period of time in which a public venue, such as a restaurant, bar, bowling alley, stadium, or state/county fair, offers discounts on alcoholic drinks, such as beer, wine, and cocktails. Free Hors d’oeuvres, appetizers and discounted menu items are often served during Happy hour.
Marc Llach is an architectural photographer living and working in Girona, Spain. His photo series ‘Happy Hour’ captures and shows the uncertain and blurred soul of some of the famous tourist spots along the Catalan coast during the low touristic season. In summer, these free-time landscapes are full of frenetic activity but in winter they live in a lethargy which sentences them to a social and urban oblivion sure to last a few months, disappearing only when the hot temperatures come back. This happens year after year. It is evident how this schizophrenia produces a palpable track on this territory which feels an existential anxiety that comes from what represents in a conceptual way and the disturbing immutability that express during this specific period.
My relationship with photography started when I was 24. I was studying at the university but I didn’t like what I was doing so I decided to leave that. In a personal moment when I felt lost, photography gave me a tool which helped me to know myself in a deeper way.
What is your artist statement?
Basically, I have a keen interest in the ways the constructed landscapes define and transform us. Those landscapes which we construct will be a key for understanding the intentions which we have like a society and they will define us like a collective in the future.
‘Happy Hour’ offered me more narrative challenges and I think it made me a better photographer. In my previous series ‘At Minimum’ the compositions were clearer because in the industrial landscape all the components showed themselves in an organized way. But in ‘Happy Hour’ all the elements are more chaotic and complex because the touristic territory shows an evident messy urbanism.
Before I start to take photographs I always decide which territory I want to work on. After some investigation I start to do locations. If I can afford it I like to go there a few days without taking photographs, only for a walk and analyzing how the light works on the landscape. Finally, when I’m ready, I take photos until I feel the territory can’t give me more images.
I remember perfectly the moment when I realized, by chance that I could use photography like a way of personal expression. It was as if I had found a hidden treasure. It was really touching for me.
It’s a complicated question because there are lots of photographers out there and it’s impossible to follow all of them. In addition, we don’t have the merciless verdict of the time. But in general terms I think that great works are being materialized. And there is the self-publishing boom which allows the photographers to show their series in the way they really want and this situation, I think, can be very important for the evolution of the photographic media itself.
At the moment I’m working on ‘Happy Hour’s photobook. It is being a great challenge because it’s my first attempt in this kind of stuff and, above all, I want to enjoy it. On the other hand, I’m starting to figure out my next series which is going to be about my close familiar spaces.
It’s difficult to say that because there are lots of influences and most of them affect us in an unconscious way. But if I had to speak about some of them I would say which are more evident like some photographers related to New Topographics. Robert Adams, Lewis Baltz, Stephen Shore and Nicholas Nixon have been key in my vision of the landscape. And also some members of de Düsseldorf School such as Candida Höfer, Thomas Ruff and Andreas Gursky.
Something to say to our readers or aspiring photographers:
Be always honest with yourself… with what you want to do what you want to get. Only doing this, being yourself, you will be proud of all you do and you will be able to progress as a photographer.