What's All This Then?

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What's All This Then?

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Thursday Edition

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Coudal Partners

Brian Ulrich

This week we feature the work of Brian Ulrich at Not If But When. Brian speaks eloquently about his art, process and consumer culture. Chicagoans can see his work in person as a part of a group show at Zolla/Lieberman and also in a solo show at The Peter Miller Gallery.

"Iíve been photographing consumer and shopping culture since 2001, when citizens were encouraged to take to the malls in retaliation to national tragedy. I began by following friends and family around on their shopping trips and quickly realized I was much more interested in strangers. I photograph people candidly as Iím fascinated by moments of unawares, the glaze of overwhelming choice in a monotonous routine. We take such moments for granted and photography helps us to scrutinize and evaluate our everyday."

"The portraits needed a context though and I began photographing the products, the expanse or warehouse goods, and the workers who put them there. I rarely have problems with store security or that like. I guess I just appear as another shopper or some kind of tourist. I use a waist level viewfinder, and never a flash. Sometimes Iím in and out of a store in minutes other times, Iíll sit on a bench for hours waiting for something to happen. Iíve even dragged tripods into stores, without even a glance."

"Martin Parr once told me Ďnothing should stop you from making the pictures you want to makeí. Itís funny, since this project began Iíve been reading tons about how stores are designed to visually overwhelm the consumer, and how clever, sophisticated, and totalitarian these spaces are. Market researchers do the same thing I do, following shoppers from the moment they enter to the moment they exit a store, tracking with video camera, photo cameras, and writing down every product you stop in front of and every aisle you walk down. This info is then sold back to the stores. I travel as much as possible for this project and have pictures from IL, IN, OH, WI, MI, NY, NV, CA, FL, and overseas to London and Scotland, I hope to continue to travel, (esp. overseas) to see; how homogenized are we?"

During a string of Fridays we featured a single work from a photographer, with a link to his or her online portfolio and a few words.