Bar girl Nettie at Cafe Mascotte. Photography © Marc H. Miller and Bettie Ringma.

Fifi, the French bar girl at the Mexican Saloon. Photography © Marc H. Miller and Bettie Ringma.

In spring 1979, Bettie Ringma and Marc H. Miller moved from New York’s Lower East Side to Amsterdam. The newly arrived couple had already become known on New York’s downtown art scene, taking “Paparazzi Self-Portraits” with the new Polaroid SX-70 instamatic camera, and giving the world a taste for instant gratification.

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In search of a way to support themselves in a new city, they remembered a photographer hustling Polaroid portraits at Coney Island and decided to test the waters. “We tried first at Zandvoort Beach but it was too much work,” Miller recalls. “The sand was potentially deadly for the camera so we moved to the nightclubs and it clicked right away.

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”For next two years, they made the rounds five or six nights a week, shooting anywhere from 30 to 100 portraits a night of locals at old-school bruin cafés, Turkish cafés, soccer bars, gay bars, discos, red-light district bars, and tourist traps. They describe the portraits as “tronies,” comparing them to 17th-century tavern paintings by artists like Adriaen Brouwer who painted typological portraits very similar in spirit.

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Read the Full Story at Huck Online

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At the Turkish bar Cascade. Photography © Marc H. Miller and Bettie Ringma.

Bar girl with live snake at Chez Tony. Photography © Marc H. Miller and Bettie Ringma.

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