Milk Faygo and Access

While up in Wisconsin last week I decided to return to a store where I took this picture:

It’s one of the more popular images and even made it to the cover of my book. I like to return to the proverbial ‘scene of the crime’ often as with each visit to a store I find I can correct mistakes from earlier shoots and really force myself to look past the obvious pictures.
This time though I contacted the store and asked for permission to shoot which would allow for 4×5 shooting and most of all I can really take my time. The store happily agreed in a way that was almost surreal. Usually I get a lot of questions/restrictions. When I showed up they simply said anything in the entire store. No problem.
Six hours later, one of the managers came up and did ask what I was going to use the pictures for. I replied that they would hopefully end up in a book. She commented that a year ago, they had seen an image of the store ‘back by the dairy section’ in the Chicago Tribune magazine. This was in fact a double page spread picture of the above image along with some other selections in a portfolio of my work.
I’m been surprised by the reaction to my work in so many ways, but the idea that the pictures might make stores less apprehensive about photography makes me giddy. It’s actually quite smart from a stores perspective as photographs in the stores actually makes the store more of a tourist destination.
Will we see ‘photography day’ at the local Kmart?


  1. danny g
    Posted January 22, 2007 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    Hey next time you’re in Miami I can take you to the supermarket my grandma shops at, complete with real live pigeons flying around in there, haha….just a thought.

    So what camera was used for the Milk Faygo picture? I thought it was a 4×5.

  2. Posted January 23, 2007 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Danny, I’ll be there in March [15-18] for the SPE conference. Will certainly take you up on that.
    The Milk pic was done with a 645.

  3. Posted February 16, 2007 at 12:22 am | Permalink

    “Will we see ‘photography day’ at the local Kmart?”

    god….I could only hope so. I’ve found that here in NYC, the indie supermarkets in Brooklyn are usually totally fine with it…thankfully. They also have some of the craziest in store displays I have ever seen….talk about surreal.


  4. Posted February 21, 2007 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    I have given up on taking any pictures around stores or Malls here locally in Central California. Hell, I was up on the roof of a parking structure taking pictures and was told to leave by a rent a cop. Apparently I was … uhm, I don’t know … taking pictures .. OOOH my gawd. Pretty surreal moment there. As I was leaving the structure I noticed a whole bank of security cameras. This town takes stuff way too seriously.


  5. Posted February 23, 2007 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Great story. I love when expectations are subverted like that.

  6. Posted April 25, 2007 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    I fail to understand what is supposedly fine artish about a shot of a block of cheap pop and some milk.

    Andy Warhol had a point. What’s yours?

  7. Posted April 25, 2007 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    Dear John,
    It seems silly to try and convince you to like the picture when you’ve already made up your mind.
    Perhaps revisiting Warhol’s point may give you some clues.
    ps. Artish is not a word.

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