Friday, 11 November 2011
I've always been fascinated by storefronts. Because a storefront can be a window to the past. A storefront is what links the seller and the buyer, it is one of the interfaces between the people and thus, one of the factors that makes a society. That's why observing storefronts you can learn a lot about the people that use them.
This is a butcher's shop in Barcelona. This picture looks very familiar to me, every little bit of it transports me home, brings memories of my childhood to my mind. In this series I am going to show storefronts in Salzburg and Hallein, and how the times are changing for them.
Walking around the city, if you try to avoid the tourist paths you may still find quite authentic stores where time stood still around the sixties...
...stores where actual people still buy their stuff. Stores that, without a doubt, are still making a significant contribution to their local communities. But, for how long?
Because the pressure that real estate and tourism exert on traditional stores is so huge that they are hardly able to survive. All too often, the only recognizable thing is the old store sign which is sometimes still visible. Times are changing, and where once there were plenty of stores where you could find everything you could possibly need, today you can only get the exact same souvenirs and touristy stuff that you can also get everywhere. They all look the same, they all have really little to do with the city but, still, it is what people want, what money wants.
Survivors. There still are some survivors, even at the heart of Salzburg's Old Town. But it is very sad to observe the trend. Every time a traditional store closes to leave room for yet another souvenir shop, which looks exactly like all the others and sells exactly the same stuff as the others, the soul of the city dies a little. People who actually live here observe the signs that announce the closing with impotence and begin to guess which of their favorite places is going to vanish next.
You cannot stop progress. This is the conclusion. But. still, you are allowed to be sad about the direction in which progress goes. Especially in these times, where everything happens so fast that you don't really have the chance to stop to take a breath.
But what you can do is take your camera and make a photograph, and keep not only a vanishing memory but an actual image of how it was back then.