Still Life At The Mall?


This image sums up how I feel whenever I go into a big shopping mall – soul sucked out, life signs shutting down, a sense of being processed, objectified in the drive to SHOP and SHOP and SHOP. On the other hand, when I came upon this scene through the strangely translucent shutters of a closed-down men’s clothing store I couldn’t have been more delighted. I didn’t have to arrange anything. It was all set out for me. I simply had to pull out my camera. Still life in the mall indeed, although sometimes you have to look hard for it.


Paula’s Black & White Sunday Challenge at Lost in Translation is Still Life. She has come up with a very intriguing take on the theme. Go see.

39 thoughts on “Still Life At The Mall?

  1. Sometimes I like the big shopping malls. Time seems to be at a standstill and the mass of people flowing through are for me an interesting mosaic to watch

    1. Oh well, you’re talking about Nairobi malls. I should have specifically excluded them from my otherwise negative reactions. You just never know what you’ll see in a Nairobi mall, and some are so very bizarre in concept. There was the one that looked like Chinese pagodas that had hardly any shops inside. And then the Village Market that had a crashing plane in its front wall (not your usual retail attraction). Is it still like that? And the Sarit Centre that was the first place I set foot in when I first arrived in Nairobi. Can still smell the popcorn. Hm. Now look what you’ve done, Noel. Sent me on a shopping mall spree, and I haven’t even mentioned the Ya Ya Centre (A Biwott creation if I remember the rumours.)

      1. You are right about Biwott and Yaya. That story hasn’t changed any bit.
        Village market has changed a bit. Expanded with many shops.
        The popcorn at the entrance to sarit are still there

  2. I actually don’t mind going shopping too much these days.
    Odd, as I always thought i would begin to detest it. But then again, I try never to go on what are generally considered busy days and never, ever on Saturdays.

    That’s a great photo. Weird, but a good shot all the same.

  3. What a fabulous photo! And of course you value add, with its symbolism. My son and daughter compete to see who can move fastest through necessary purchases to getoutofthere. And that’s only a supermarket.

  4. They do have one redeeming factor Tish, they are air conditioned and they have space to walk around and get some exercise when it is hovering around 40c and VERY humid outside and we have no air-con at home!!! But as for shopping, forget it. But I must admit to rather enjoying grocery shopping…
    I love the image you have captured, very futuristic, cyborg like creatures.

    1. Actually you’ve reminded me that the malls in Dubai were quite pleasing to walk around. Much thought had gone into design. They were also pretty empty, and as you say great to retreat to out of the heat. I’m not sure our UK malls have air conditioning. Maybe that’s one of their problems – too much stale air.

  5. I know the feeling of coming across just the right shot without any effort at all! I’m not a big fan of malls, although there was a time when our girls were little, that I’d walk in the mall with the stroller in the winter. Malls are overwhelming pits of consumerism to me and I tend to only go to one if there’s a shop there with something I can’t find anywhere else. Can’t remember the last time I went to one except to meet my s-i-l who works at one.


    1. In the UK in the late Victorian/Edwarian period, our towns had beautiful arcades that were a pleasure to walk through. The shops along them were all quite small being pre-chain store days. And most of these lovely places were destroyed to make way for urban improvement.

  6. A strange and very captivating photo. I love the graphic quality and the alienation the photo radiates. The monochromatic tones and the harsh contrast emphasizes this mood. When it comes to shopping and shopping malls, I feel exactly the same way as you. 🙂

  7. I’m not much of a shopper these days I have to say. I find malls just overwhelming in the variety. Nothing like a quaint little shop with great service to make me happy.
    Love the photo and always so happy when an image just magically pops in front of one.

  8. I thought this was a lithograph at first, due to the artistic hued contrast. Well-framed. BtW: you are the Book Booster Spotlight for February. Pop in and check it out!

  9. Like you and so many of your commenters, I avoid malls as much as I can. Despite the noise and the activity they tend to be hollow, and empty of all that inspires the soul.

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