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October 28, 2016

Candid Photos Taken at Malls Across America That Brought Us Back to the ’80s

Malls have been a staple of American culture for decades, representing suburban consumerism in its most basic form.

Throughout the 1980s, as America's downtown districts declined in importance and the "big-box" stores began their slow march across the country, malls became increasing central to American popular culture, dominating the social life of a large swath of the population. In 1989 Michael Galinsky, a twenty-year-old photographer, drove across the country recording this change: the spaces, textures and pace that defined this era.

“In 1989, following in the footsteps of Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand, and William Eggleston, I drove across the country and documented malls across America,” Galinsky said. “I had a cheap Nikon FG-20 and an even cheaper lens - but I had a lot of passion.”

Starting in the winter of 1989 with the Smith Haven Mall in Garden City Long Island, Galinsky photographed malls from North Carolina to South Dakota, Washington State and beyond. The photos he took capture life in these malls as it began to shift from the shiny excess of the 1980s towards an era of slackers and grunge culture.

“I shot about 30 rolls of slide film in malls from Long Island to North Dakota to Seattle,” he recalled. “It was hard to tell from the images where they were taken, and that was kind of the point. I was interested in the creeping loss of regional differences. I thought a lot about Frank's "The Americans" as we drove from place to place without any sense of place.”

(RUMUR - Malls Across America)



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