Saturday, November 27, 2010

Black Friday: Return of the drones

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year. Retailers expect to turn profits, going from "red" to "black", and shoppers expect to find steep bargains while they get a jump start on the Christmas shopping season.

Christmas, by all accounts is a very festive holiday but the shopping events leading up to it appears less so. I headed to the shopping intersection of New York, 34th street where the world famous Macy's department store is located. I've never been shopping on Black Friday, and while I expected to see crowds, I didn't expect to see many people looking so "machine-like" in their shopping pursuits. It seemed as if everything was for sale (and on sale), and consumers were snatching up items like they were being commanded by an off-site remote-control. It seemed as if no thought was being put into the purchases, and for the simple fact that items were marked SALE, that's all the reason for going for broke during this time of economic hardship for many New Yorker's.

While snapping pictures, I marveled at the fact that no one seemed happy--at least not the many people i photographed. Everyone seemed like battery-operated drones, and those with less power were exhausted and despondent, but fueled by the notion that they had to buy "something". I think that most people go out to shop on Black Friday simply because they feel they "have to" participate in the frenzy while they also figure out which bills will not be paid for the month.

I photographed this series in black and white because there was no color (or life) for me in this major shopping event, not when I recall in 2008 when 34-year-old Jdimytai Damour who was trampled to his death by eager and reckless Black Friday shoppers looking for a bargain at a Long Island Walmart. It seemed the steel grey skies and cold-brisk weather agreed that this was not a day to celebrate, but to reflect and remember the purpose of humanity.

(Click any image to enlarge)

Macy's and Empire State Building

A mountain of handbags for sale.

Kids left alone in a double-parked car while mom went shopping.

Handbag Superman

Intersection at Macy's Department store.

One bright spot in the crowds.

Fur sale.

Fur protester outside of Macy's.

Macy's window's.

Sunday, November 07, 2010