Image from Brian Ulrich: Not If But When
I don’t know why I didn’t post about this artist before, but I recently came across his work again and I didn’t want to forget this time. Brian Ulrich is a Chicago photographer who looks at consumerism in this country. From his site, he states:
In 2001 citizens were encouraged to take to the malls to boost the U.S. economy through shopping, thereby equating consumerism with patriotism. The Copia project, a direct response to that advice, is a long-term photographic examination of the excesses of consumer-dominated culture in which we live. Copia explores not only the everyday activities of shopping, but the economic, cultural, social, and political implications of commercialism and the roles we play in self-destruction, over-consumption, and as targets of marketing and advertising. By scrutinizing these rituals, I hope that viewers will evaluate the increasing complexities of the modern world and their own role within it.
The photographs are mainly of people shopping and “still-lifes” in retail stores. He takes these very mundane and ordinary subjects and makes them look extraordinary and beautiful. The lighting he adds is minimal but he shoots them in a way to highlight his subject and give it great presence. He is able to catch these consumers in moments that are almost sad and disturbing, but the elegance of the photographs makes you want to keep looking and study the role of consumption in this country.