How do you shop? Superstores, chains, malls, boutiques, mail order, online? How do you decide? Advertising? Celebrity endorsements? Product placement? Social media? Neighborhood storefronts used to be ubiquitous but many are struggling, especially “in that part of town.” Maybe they don’t have dedicated parking, a website or an 800 number. One thing they have in common is that they’re closed on Sundays for religious, family or economic reasons – a nostalgic notion in a society open 24/7. When light filters through the iron burglar bars, the result can be a rainbow of delights just beyond reach — at least on Sundays.
Each of these storefronts is a work of folk art but the stakes are high – the success and future of a family, a street, neighborhood or even a city. Each window is a unique amalgamation of colors, wares, displays, signage and architectural flourishes. Do we want every Main Street to look the same? Should people have to work 7 days a week to survive? How dull would our communities be without these unique forms of expression?
These images were taken on Sunday mornings in LA over a period of 6 months in older neighborhoods like South LA, East LA, Boyle Heights, Koreatown, Chinatown, Hollywood, North Hollywood, Van Nuys, Inglewood, Huntington Park, Lynwood, South Gate, Arleta, Sun Valley, San Fernando, Reseda, San Pedro, Long Beach, Burbank, Eagle Rock and Highland Park. The project was created as a diversion while my beloved wife Mamie was suffering from terminal cancer. As her caregiver, I was only able to take a few hours off each Sunday morning. There was something so bittersweet and personal about these storefronts that suggested life and loss that shooting them became my obsession even after she passed and is dedicated to her precious memory.