Photos: The social life of Indian Coffee Houses in Stuart Freedman’s images

Stuart Freedman's 'The Palaces of Memory,’ is a photographic ode to 20 years of visiting coffee houses across India. Freedman first came to India on work in 1994 and on his first visit to the coffee house, he was reminded of old English cafes and their post-war austerity. Tasveer in collaboration with Dauble has put together an exhibition of 40 photographs by Freedman at Bikaner House, Delhi until March 15.

UPDATED ON MAR 10, 2018 02:22 PM IST 7 Photos
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Men sit and talk at the Indian Coffee House, New Delhi, 2010. The Coffee House dates back to 1957, first in central Connaught Place, then Janpath and now at the top of a rather shabby shopping centre. Still run by the Indian Coffee Workers Cooperative Society, it was a regular haunt for politicos in Delhi. (© Stuart Freedman / Tasveer)

Men sit and talk at the Indian Coffee House, New Delhi, 2010. The Coffee House dates back to 1957, first in central Connaught Place, then Janpath and now at the top of a rather shabby shopping centre. Still run by the Indian Coffee Workers Cooperative Society, it was a regular haunt for politicos in Delhi. (© Stuart Freedman / Tasveer)

UPDATED ON MAR 10, 2018 02:22 PM IST
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Sangaran, a waiter who has worked at the coffee shop for 17 years. The Indian Coffee House, Kollam (now closed), 2013. (© Stuart Freedman / Tasveer)

Sangaran, a waiter who has worked at the coffee shop for 17 years. The Indian Coffee House, Kollam (now closed), 2013. (© Stuart Freedman / Tasveer)

UPDATED ON MAR 10, 2018 02:22 PM IST
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The Indian Coffee House, Kollam (now closed), 2013. Stuart Freedman first came to India on work in 1994 and on his first visit to the coffee house, he was reminded of old English cafes and their post-war austerity. (© Stuart Freedman / Tasveer)

The Indian Coffee House, Kollam (now closed), 2013. Stuart Freedman first came to India on work in 1994 and on his first visit to the coffee house, he was reminded of old English cafes and their post-war austerity. (© Stuart Freedman / Tasveer)

UPDATED ON MAR 10, 2018 02:22 PM IST
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Indian Coffee House, Chandigarh, India, 2013. During their rule in India, the British set up the Indian Coffee Expansion Board in 1942. The idea was to have English coffee and snacks available to the servicemen posted in India. (© Stuart Freedman / Tasveer)

Indian Coffee House, Chandigarh, India, 2013. During their rule in India, the British set up the Indian Coffee Expansion Board in 1942. The idea was to have English coffee and snacks available to the servicemen posted in India. (© Stuart Freedman / Tasveer)

UPDATED ON MAR 10, 2018 02:22 PM IST
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A waiter serves schoolgirls beneath a portrait of Rabindranath Tagore in the Indian Coffee House, Kolkata, 2013. Freedman’s photographs employ longing and escape meticulously, especially in their depiction of empty chairs and tables, portraits of people staring into nothing while sipping on their coffee. (© Stuart Freedman / Tasveer)

A waiter serves schoolgirls beneath a portrait of Rabindranath Tagore in the Indian Coffee House, Kolkata, 2013. Freedman’s photographs employ longing and escape meticulously, especially in their depiction of empty chairs and tables, portraits of people staring into nothing while sipping on their coffee. (© Stuart Freedman / Tasveer)

UPDATED ON MAR 10, 2018 02:22 PM IST
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Waiter Brij Nandan Yadav. The Indian Coffee House, New Delhi, 2011. There are several photographs of the staff, the social life in the kitchens, the terrace where they take a break and a view of the cities from the roofs of the coffee houses. (© Stuart Freedman / Tasveer)

Waiter Brij Nandan Yadav. The Indian Coffee House, New Delhi, 2011. There are several photographs of the staff, the social life in the kitchens, the terrace where they take a break and a view of the cities from the roofs of the coffee houses. (© Stuart Freedman / Tasveer)

UPDATED ON MAR 10, 2018 02:22 PM IST
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A portrait of Stuart Freedman, the author of ‘The Palaces of Memory.’ Even though many coffee houses, like the one in Delhi, face regular threats of closure, Freedman is unbothered. “If this one shuts, the space will mushroom somewhere else,” he says. (Courtesy Tasveer)

A portrait of Stuart Freedman, the author of ‘The Palaces of Memory.’ Even though many coffee houses, like the one in Delhi, face regular threats of closure, Freedman is unbothered. “If this one shuts, the space will mushroom somewhere else,” he says. (Courtesy Tasveer)

UPDATED ON MAR 10, 2018 02:22 PM IST

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