Mall life, 1989


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$100 sez that last photo there with Sears and the three people walking away is the Smithhaven Mall on Long Island. I worked at that Sears summer of 1990.

If you liked those photos you might like this earlier B&W series from the 80s by Stephen Dirado:


Clearly a newbie to street photography at age 20, given his unwillingness to photograph people from the front and a number of shots that look like they were taken surreptitiously.

Yes, somebody suggested that the last time</a<> boingboing posted these pictures in 2011.

What an unusual use of the word “culture.”

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Judging from the hair and clothes, some of these photos are either from '89 or last week.

That’s wild. Can I have my $100 now?

Mall security guards tend to freak out when people take photos, so I’m not surprised that the photographer felt he needed to sneak his shots.

This MIGHT be less of an issue now, since almost everyone has a cell phone with a camera, but they still might freak out if you look like you might be taking a picture with it.

No mall cops harassing kids dressed like Robert Smith? Are we sure these are from 1989?

Dirado’s series is from 1984 and 1985 and many of the photographs were taken at the now-defunct Worcester Gallaria mall.

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Yep, it’s pretty much the way I imagined it would be

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Also the image gallery at Rumur incorrectly states that the Smith Haven Mall is in Garden City. It is located in Lake Grove. Maybe they mixed it up with Roosevelt Field which is in Garden City.

My father was kicked out of outdoor shopping malls for photography with his fancy camera as recently as 2012. And my father was not an easy man to “kick out” of anywhere. He loved to argue.

It’s actually WAY MORE of an issue now, because teh terroristz. Taking photos in any public place is liable to get you booted out of that place by paranoid, power hungry security guards. I was taking a photo of a building in Toronto, standing on a public sidewalk across the street from the building, and a security guard came out of the building to try to tell me I wasn’t allowed to do that. I had a good chuckle at that one, and informed him that I was nowhere near the building’s property, which was precisely where his jurisdiction (such as it was) ended.

And as for the post itself - the couple things that stand out to me, specifically:

  • OMG the mullets. So much mullet.
  • What was the fascination with wood decor? That really reminds me of my dad’s furniture from the 80’s, and definitely malls of the period as well.
  • Indoor smoking! That was probably the most jarring thing of all.

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