Runcible Blog

the overwhelming wal-mart goliath

Today I walked around Essex street a bit, looking for something visually interesting to photograph. I'm noticing that Lawrence is largely monochromatic -- mostly dull red bricks. There certainly are plenty of opportunities to photograph urban decay, but that's not really my thing. Since so few people walk around outside, most of the photographs will be devoid of human life -- again, not really my thing. So I think I'll try to narrow the focus for my final project. I've thought about a "day in the life" type of project, but I don't have a lot of time to get this done. I think I'll try "24 hours at work" and see how that comes out, but I doubt it would be as interesting as it seems. hmm

I'm also interested in fluorescent lights lately. Maybe watching "The Matrix" spurned my interest (although I wasn't impressed by the cinematography), but I'd like to recreate some of that greenish, desaturated lighting. Actually, I'm thinking more of a cross between "One Hour Photo" and "The Matrix" -- sterile, flat, desaturated, artificial light. What better place to go for that than a department store?

I took a short trip to K-Mart and didn't really see a bland enough light, but I did catch some really beautiful light from a sunset filtering through the large front windows of the store. With any luck I'll have a couple pleasant pictures of window-lit mops from K-Mart. But that's not the light I'm looking for.

My next stop was Wal-Mart, which has grown even more since the last time I'd seen it. It's become a sprawling store that is too big for its own good. I was overwhelmed by the place -- by the large number of customers for a Sunday night, by the sensory overload at every aisle, by the informercials playing on the TVs and the christmas music coming from nowhere. I also felt a little too paranoid to break out my camera. The place crawls with worker bee employees, not to mention the scores of happy consumers. I haven't seen as many ceiling-mounted surveillance cameras since I'd been to an Atlantic City casino. Nonetheless, I might return and try snapping a glimpse of consumerism before being escorted out by elderly illegal alien "greeters".

On another note, why do parents lie so much to their young children when they want the kids to behave? Yesterday at Hunt's a woman scolded her little (maybe 3 year old) daughter and said, "everybody's looking at you. stop making a scene." or something to that effect. I felt like saying, "No, it's alright. No one cares if your kid makes a scene. Lighten up, lady." And today at Barnes and Noble another woman admonished her kid because he fell down and started complaining that his sister pushed him. She said, "that man (meaning me, I guess) is trying to read. now he's angry. stop it." Huh? I wasn't even looking in their direction, and they were about 15 feet away.

Of course I know that the parent (probably mostly the mother. somehow I don't think fathers are as sensitive about making sure their kids behave in public.) will lie in order to make their kid feel guilty and acquiesce. But geeze, it's so blatant. I suppose the lesson of my story is: quit lying to your kids just to get them to behave. Eventually your scheming may backfire.

Or maybe not. Thank Yahweh, I'm not a parent.