Sunday, July 22, 2007

The Mall - take II

Someone mentioned the work of Brian Ulrich in connection with my quest for Mall photography (though that wasn't who I was thinking of).

I've been meaning to post on Brian's work for a while. I think he takes a broader look at consumerism than just "the mall", but has some very good (excellent in fact) work on the subject none the less (some of it reminds me of a softer, gentler version of some of Martin Parr's "consumerism" work - I know at one point Brian showed his work to Parr).

There's a good interview with Ulrich on Conscientious, and here's a few selections from his work for now.

BTW, I think the existence of draconian regulations and restrictions (as one commenter put it) on photography in such places as malls and stores is all the more reason for photographers to be doing some good work there.

Here's Ulrich's comments on a bit of that (I've no idea if he has permission from any of the stores?): "With the Copia pictures, most people have no idea they've been photographed. I'm using a waist level viewfinder and am actually very close. They might notice me with the camera and ask about it. I try to say something simple along the lines of 'oh this is just a new camera, I'm trying to figure out how it works' or something along those lines. Again I'm not trying to deceive here, I just know that if I really try and get into a discussion on a larger idea, people will make assumptions on that idea. Kind of like when you tell someone an idea for a photo project and they shoot it down, well it's just an idea and the picture is going to be very different. I'd much rather have a discussion over the finished picture than a concept. I have 'found' some of the people in the pictures and they've all either cared very little, or thought it was really funny. The older couple with the motorized cart, I later found out, is a good friend of my Grandparents. I sent them and her each a print and they were going to blow it up and put it on their front lawn!"


Edward Richards said...

In the US, malls and stores are private property, and it is trespassing to violate rules on photography. While I have not read of malls enforcing such rules, it is not like taking pictures in public spaces, which is protected in the US - at least so far.

I assume remedies could include blocking the sale or pubication of the images. There are also copyright and trademark issues in the store displays and backgrounds which could show up in the pictures. Just something to keep in mind.

Andy Frazer said...

I think you forgot to post a link to Brian's website:


tim atherton said...

thanks, sometimes you click and paste it but blogger doesn't take the link...

Stan B. said...

I have have no problem with the artful con to get the picture (done it plenty myself), but "deceiving" is exactly the word.

artstarz said...

Stephen DiRado did a whole series of portraits and photos in Malls - in his Mall Series - from the mid-80's I believe.

artstarz said...

...forgot to add Robert Adams work. His book What We Bought: The New World, Scenes from the Denver Metropolitan Area contains numerous photos from early malls and stores in Colorado.

Brian said...

Thanks for the shout out Tim!
In the beginning I made some calls to stores to try and get permissions and realized quickly that I would never get to make the pictures I wanted to make unless I just did them.
Their actually is some debate over whether a mall is private or public. Their was a case I came across in research which declared malls public spaces. It's of course all very vague and confusing. But to be trespassing signs explaining the stores' rules on photography would have to be clearly and visibly posted.
This is actually something I did talk w/Martin Parr about. And he reminded me that if I felt the pictures were important then it was worth finding a way to make it happen.
Finally I wrote a post of some other mall photographers on my blog last year:
Everythings Been Done

ps. R. Adams What We Bought is one of my favorite books!