Using a Ricoh GRD III and a Nikon DSLR to photograph streets, people, architecture and anything else that catches my eye.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

When the shops are all closed

I recently had the chance to wander around a shopping centre after the shops were all closed and the doors all locked (that's a 'mall' for non uk residents).  I normally shrink away from such places, due to my natural abhorrence of all things shopping; but visiting these places after hours is a totally unique experience. 

No People.   No Noise.   No clutter.   No movement.   Just an eerie calm.  A sleeping building.

I had a couple of hours of free uninterupted time to stroll around taking photos of whatever I wanted. Although I took my DSLR, with the intention of doing some architectural photography; I ended up being more interested in all the little details instead. Therefore the DSLR once again stayed in the bag, and I made use of the Ricoh GRD3 for all of these images.  Actually, like the majority of these places, the architecture is quite dull. I think this particular mall (Eastgate Shopping Centre, Basildon) was built in the eighties and nineties, with a few internal face lifts since then.  Most of the shopping public just need a bunch of well known shops connected with walkways, escalators, elevators, car parking and fast food outlets.

I feel that I should give quick nod to a fellow blogger at this point.  Michael Gatton has been running a blog for quite a while, which was partly influential on my ideas of this particular post. Michael has been carefully photographing the minutae of every day objects and images from his local neighborhood of NYC. He has a great eye for detail, and a perfectionists attitude to his art.

Photographing Trivialities

Anyway...   here are the images from Eastgate Shopping Centre, after the people have all gone home.

The first image was an example of the architecture, which I originally wanted to photograph. This strangely empty fast food outlet was an example of the functional easy clean design of the whole building. I liked the geometry and cold textures of plastic, stainless steel and glass.

 I moved a chair and placed it in front of the shop security shutters. I don't know why...  it just felt right.

How about something a little anarchic...

This was a macro of a small red warning light at the base of the escalator; actually only about the size of a bottle top. (2cm maybe)

These next few were all taken in a coffee place. Clichés of cafe design everywhere.

Although the penguin didn't seem to follow the clichés, I thought he was quite endearing.

Here are some more detailed images of things we often see but never really look at closely:

Perforated steel from a public seat

The interlocking teeth of an escalator

Perforated and formed steel of a shop security shutter.

I found these all in a Chinese shop window. They just drew my interest for more photographs.

Now when I said there were no people...   of course there are some people who do work through the night, keeping the place clean and pristine. So I still managed to get a little street photography done.


George McKay said...

It must be somewhat of an eerie sensation walking around in one of these places after hours. Interesting assignment - finding subject matter to present in an interesting manner - which you've done.

s.c said...

I like the first three the most. It must be a nice sensation to have a whole shopping centre as target especially empty and that effect is the strongest there. From that three number one is in mine eyes the strongest in composition but by placing the chair in two an other dull view get something very exciting. Like it Bill.

Michael Gatton said...

Hey Bill, talk about a dream come true - would love to have access to an empty mall!

I appreciate the kind words - now I have to work even harder to try to live up to them.

And your shots here really set the bar high - just beautiful examples of details that I love. The first one is a knockout - the warm/cold tone contrast and the lines converging like a vanishing point in renaissance paintings but a totally (post)modern context.

The black and white metallic pieces have a classical elegant simplicity.

Nicely done!