Brian Ulrich investigates American store culture

February 19, 2014

Brian Ulrich photographs large-scale stores in America. In each of his series he extensively researches a singular aspect of this culture such as retail, dark stores, and thrift shops. He traces the trajectory of these places over time: the stores once densely packed with urgent customers now sits hauntingly abandoned on main street and the shining objects are sold at a quarter of their initial price a year later in second-hand shops. By documenting the monopolistic nature of our society Ulrich portrays an honest look at the heart of American economy and culture. Especially poignant are the portraits of shoppers: a pale old woman grabs frowningly at some vegetables while clutching her cart, a beautifully lit average man caresses a shiny fishing pole as he gazes into the distance with religious concentration, a young girl is trying on shoes for her new persona, and a woman wearing a gaudy fur coat greedily drains her sampling of wine. The candid portraits of this system as well as those encapsulated by it gives us a visual representation of the underlying themes of modern America. Ulrich successfully depicts the full story of a nation based upon desire and ownership.

See more of his work here

Text written by Cole Tracy