American photographer Brian Ulrich documents the spaces where middle-class and lower-class westernerers (Americans and Brits) shop for their stuff. The cool objective gaze of the camera cannot help but capture the soulless situations in which people lose themselves during shopping.

In shopping malls and “Big Box” retailers, we discover a universal zombie-state of shoppers (no one looks really alive, alert, excited, engaged – or even enraged). A stupor seems to have fallen over the lot, as they glance with glazed eyes at plastic wrapped flowers, pre-packaged vegetables and piles of synthetic fluff toys. One notices the harsh fluorescent lighting and garish, thoughtless displays that somehow still fuel desire in people who must go out and buy things.

In “Thrift Stores” the same stuff is recyled for consumption one more time. The left-overs for second-generation users are treated with even less respect and more disdain. Piled in heaps with haphazard disregard.

One doesn’t know which is worse: the glut and overabundance mass-produced junk, or the shoppers who pause for less than a moment to “do” wine-tasting on the run.

— Jim Casper