I’ve always found when shopping carts are out of their designed context, i.e. grocery stores, to be very interesting. Within their designed contexts they represent convenience, consumerism, and middle class wealth. They are used by people who fill them up with groceries to transport all of their items around the store and eventually to the trunk of their cars. Outside of their stores, they represent poverty because they frequently become a homeless person’s only means to transport their few belongings as they drift around the city. They are also used, to ire of the owners, by very low income people to transport their groceries from the store to their home. Then after unloading them, the abandon them on sidewalks, alleys, parking lots, ditches, fields, etc.
For a film photography project I decided to shoot a series of abandoned shopping carts around Dallas, Texas. I made all of these photos with Kodak Porta 400 film and a Nikon FM2. I drove around mainly close to downtown focusing on Old East Dallas, East Dallas, The Cedars, and South Dallas. Once I started looking for the shopping carts, I started noticing them a lot more and the interesting contrast of textures they provide against the various back drops.
To make this project even more interesting, a friend of mine helped me to make a book of these photos out of paper bags. I wanted the book to have a texture related to grocery shopping and be related to poverty like the shopping carts, we figured brown papers bags was a perfect texture. Then I created a series of imagined banal conversations that are typically spoken over a shopping cart within its designed context, like a grocery store. I wanted to reader to see the photo of the shopping cart out of its designed context then read the conversation and for that conversation to force their imagination to visualize that very shopping cart being used within its designed context.
Here are some photos of that book I made: