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January 18, 2022

Flashback to the Glory Days of American Malls in the 1980s

In the winter of 1989, 20-year-old photographer Michael Galinsky began driving across the country to document the seismic change in shopping malls, which at the time were central to American culture. They represented suburban consumerism in its most basic form and provided a place for families and teens to shop and socialize.

These pictures lay forgotten until Galinsky revisited his work in 2010. Initially posted online, the interest in his photos suddenly exploded. After a successful Kickstarter campaign, Galinsky’s selected work was published in the book Malls Across America by the renowned publisher Steidl in 2013.

In 2018, Galinsky decided to revisit his archive once more, aware that there was still a strong appetite for the project. “That book is now very expensive, and it didn’t include all the work by any means. So this summer I did a Kickstarter to raise funds to print an entirely new book with no repeat images.” Galinsky described his book The Decline of Mall Civilization. “It’s a very different book in that it is almost entirely double page spreads where the pictures play off of each other. I’m so happy that people keep finding meaning in the work. (and themselves!)”

Take a look back at the glory days of shopping malls and the style of shoppers that defined a generation through these 35 fascinating color pictures taken by Galinsky in 1989:


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