Catherine Opie
Untitled #9 (from Mini-mall series), 1998

Catherine Opie’s Mini-mall series features images of anonymous shop fronts revealing a poorer, less glamorous everyday existence in her native Los Angeles. Each Mini-mall exposes something of the social life of the community it serves, from the customised design of its shop fronts and signage, to the ubiquitous road running through the foreground of each image. The deserted architecture stands as a sombre urban monument to passer-by culture, which only assumes meaning once it is populated. Devoid of people or passing cars, Opie’s static, classically composed images force the viewer to reassess their relationship to such buildings.