Aug 30, 2009

Photo Essays Of Our Time: People of Wal-Mart [Red States Lose]

There's a line in a song: "All the freaky people make the beauty of the world." And then there's this: a blog taking photos of Wal-Mart patrons. Cruel? Yes. Hysterical? Absolutely. But fascinating. And somehow, art.

The site doesn't claim to take any kind of political stance on the globalizing, capitalist behemoth, and Adbusters' nightmare that is Wal-Mart, other than that as purely sociological entertainment. They even say so in their, uh, manifesto:

People of Walmart was founded in August of 2009 by three friends and roommates after an inspirational trip to WalMart. Let's face it; we all have seen the people who obviously don't have mirrors and/or family and friends to lock them in a basement, and they all seem to congregate at Walmart. It's not everywhere that you can shop for milk at 10 a.m. next to a 400lb mother of 6 wearing a pink tube top, leopard tights, and hooker heels.

And again: this is, on a very real level, needlessly mean. Cintra Wilson would approve.

But it's also completely fascinating to see the "all stripes" crowd that comes to Wal-Mart for their psychotically competitive, mom-and-pop murdering prices. The composite picture that's coming together could be one of the great photo essays of our time. I'm gonna go ahead and call this art. It's Andreas Gursky meets the social voyeurism of Party Crash photog Nikola Tamindzic, mixed in with the strange loneliness of Edward Hopper's Nighthawks. Here're some of my favorites of what you're going to see. Like I said: art.

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