We’re all partial to the delights of a burger van, whether at festivals or football games, that wonderful smell of fried onions is often there for you in your time of need.
French photojournalist Guillaume Blot’s photography project Buvettes (meaning refreshments in French), takes an appreciation of these establishments to another level. L’Autre Tour de France documents the fast food cuisine outside football stadiums up and down the country, focusing on the people in front of, and behind the counter. It also looks at the wider regional variations of foods served in one of Europe’s largest countries.
“Buvettes was born in 2015. At the time I was testing restaurants for Le Fooding Guide. I then had the idea to independently review the best refreshment stands in each French football stadium, accompanying the texts with photos of fans eating,” Guillaume tells It’s Nice That. “I love the pre-game atmosphere, when people gather around a hot dog and a pint, and it’s super photogenic, with all the colours of the sauces, the fries, jerseys and scarves.”
As Guillaume mentions, the images visually translate the assault on the senses that standing outside a football ground can provide. From the bright and vivid colours of clothing to the smell of frying onions or sausages, it aims to capture the moments of a football match that are just as integral as the game itself.
“It’s a ritual for many spectators wishing to ‘have a bite to eat’ and ‘drink a little pint’. The food participates to the community just as much as the bleachers,” says Guillaume. “Sport, snacks and drinks then become pretexts for exchange and discussion with one’s neighbour, against a background of electrogenic noises and the smell of gravel.”
Many of the images are comedic in nature, from chips strewn all over the floor to people using sauces for eyes. However, that is not to say that there are not tender and thought-provoking photographs too – most notably, spectators caught mid-thought.
Guillaume, who grew up in Nantes, entered into photography through journalism and writing. He wanted images to accompany his words. However, as of a few years ago, his photographic work has overtaken his writing. He now works with a range of prominent clients such as Liberation and L’Express as well as being a member of Hans Lucas agency.