I made a Book Art out of paper bags inspired by analog photos of abandoned shopping carts I had been capturing all over Dallas.
I wanted to make a single piece of art out of a book. This type of art is called Book Art. Artists vary wildly what they do with them. I was inspired to use images I have been making of shopping carts to create this book.
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. This is because they frequently become a homeless person’s only means to transport their few belongings. They are also used, to the ire of the owners, by very low-income people to transport their groceries from the store to their home. Then after unloading them, they 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. I also started noticing the interesting contrast of textures they provide against the various backdrops.
For the book art, 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 shopping for groceries. And for it related to poverty like the shopping carts, we figured brown paper bags were a perfect texture.
Then I created a series of imagined banal conversations. Conversations that are typically spoken over a shopping cart within its designed context, like a grocery store. I wanted the reader to see the photo of the shopping cart out of its designed context. Then for the reader to read the conversation. I hope the conversation then forces their imagination to visualize the shopping cart in the photo within its designed context.
These are photos of shopping carts featured in the book art.