Unsung Heroes

I love to shop. I have that "take no prisoners, have no regrets" kind of attitude. I liked the artist Barbara Kruger from the moment I saw her work "I shop therefore I am".  It seems to say it all, even if it is rather editorial.

The excitement of shopping apparently shares the same part of the brain as falling in love.  A thrilling purchase is accompanied by release of dopamine & endorphins in the brain - hence the rush - & the need for more.  Extremes of this behaviour become recognisable as addiction. But we digress.......

Worrying about a companion on a shopathon leads to loss of focus & hasty decisions - or worse, the onset of responsibility, after which nothing is purchased. This is a particular problem when travelling - the fellow traveller cannot be left to their own devices for long (enough!).  For this reason, I have found that my prowess is best when shopping alone & feeling good. Retail as therapy doesn't do it for me - the black is still there long after the parcels have been unwrapped.   For many, it is fashion which floats the boat.  For me, these days, a  precision prime lens on a great camera, a fabulous light, even a whizz-bang piece of software, triggers the dopamine release & I fall in love all over again!

Dedicated shoppers enter a truly narcissistic zone, trespassed at peril, inflicting a state quite the opposite of falling in love on their hapless companions.  Often, there is no choice but to trek along, because of the need to be the transporter, the child minder, or even, on occasion, the bankroller.  They exude boredom, exhaustion, & frustration, as they wait, doze & follow.  Then, there are the trap questions for which there are no winning answers; "does this make me look big/fat/large?" or worse, the wide open "what do you think?" (NEVER attempt to answer these!)

I was sent a set of photographs succinctly capturing this  darker side of the shopping experience. Unfortunately, I do not have attribution for these photos & my apologies if you are reading this & see your work.   The legions of shopping companions are unsung heroes. They spend seemingly endless ghastly hours in the pursuit of another's  temporary happiness. They should have their own Kruger Mantra ..............

Recognise a familiar pattern here?   The high of a great shot, the obsessive pursuit of the perfect street scene/landscape/portrait/still life.  Companions for the journey share  many of the same frustrations, often without the comfort of a sofa/bed/chair found in a shop.  We should make a global apology to all the long-suffering photography companions,  & present a new opportunity for Barbara Kruger with alteration of only 2 letters!