Saturday, 15 January 2011

John Londei: Shutting up shop

John Londeis' book 'Shutting Up Shop' records the decline of the independent shop throughout the late 70's and 80's:

The book was given to me as a gift from my girlfriends Mum, and I think it's my favorite photographic series. Londei pursued this person project whilst working as a photographers assistant. He was inspired after visiting a local pharmacy in Leather Lane, London and feeling compelled to capture the place on film. As well as the shops Londei shot the shopkeepers, approaching the project as portraiture. He says that "Some how it felt as if they'd turned the premises into living entities". He also states that, "the timing was 'spot on'; visually the shops were at there peak. They had a faded beauty; a patina the only the passing years could bestow".
The images here are just a selection of my favorites from the series.I feel that Londei has perfectly captured the feel of there places and the people who own and run them. Londei shot the series on a 10x8 camera, giving the images amazing quality and detail. Londei also approached each shop as individual, choosing to shot interior or exterior depending on what fitted the subject matter better.
These portraits have inspired me greatly. I feel I can approach my project from a similar angle. I would like to make images with the same quality as Londeis'. I would like to use 5x4 but I feel that due to the nature of the course this will not be time or cost effective. I may experiment with 120mm film, but this could also be difficult because many of the allotments I plan to visit are way from Leicester meaning I couldn't take the camera for the long period of time I need. I plan to visit a community garden in Camden where my girlfriends grandma has a plot and try out shooting some portraits.

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