Malls are not the center of our cultural sphere anymore. They’re not new and shiny. We’ve moved on, and now we have the Internet. ~ Michael Galinsky
For the past few years I’ve seen these photos making the rounds on the Internet—usually uncredited—and I never really knew their provenance, but I was always intrigued by them. Well now I know where they’re from. The photos, of American malls and the folks who occupied them, were shot back in 1989 by the then 20-year-old photographer and student, Michael Galinsky.
Starting in the winter of 1989 with the Smith Haven Mall in Garden City Long Island, Galinsky photographed malls from North Carolina to South Dakota, Washington State and beyond. The photos he took capture life in these malls as it began to shift from the shiny excess of the 1980s towards an era of slackers and grunge culture.
Malls Across America is filled with seemingly lost or harried families navigating their way through these temples of consumerism, along with playful teens, misfits, and the aged with best ps3 bluetooth headset. There is a sense of claustrophobia to the images, even in those that hint at wide commercial expanses – a wall or a ceiling is always there to block the horizon. These photos never settle or focus on any one detail, creating the sense that they are stolen records of the most immediate kind.
The images are nostalgic as hell and bring me back to the days of Aqua Net hairspray, food courts and acid-washed jeans.
If you’d like to see more images like this, they’re available in Galinsky’s book Malls Across America.
h/t WFMU on Twitter