Patterns of Prosperity
We have a huge selection of products to choose from in the United States. Even in a modest grocery store there are many different choices for any particular type of food item. Forget purple mountains majesty and amber waves of grain – it’s more about a towering wall of cereal.
In an outtake from the movie Borat, a clerk shows the ostensible foreign visitor a pretty standard dairy case in a supermarket. Borat asks about each of the products in the case: “What is this?” – “Cheese” – “And this?” — “That’s cheese.” – “And this one?” – “That’s also cheese.” He can’t believe that all of them are cheese. This repeats 52 times; then he moves on to the butter section.
My photographs capture this spectacle of store shelves using iPhone panoramas. Normally your eye only notices products in your immediate vicinity. However, a panoramic photo widens the field of vision to reveal overwhelming abundance. This expanded view highlights the visual patterns and slight variations from box to box across the many available varieties. In addition, the iPhone “pano” mode adds distortions and imperfections that amplify the surrealism of the scene.