Chicken Shop as taxonomic photgraphic device

I’ve been photographing the fried chicken restaurants of north London. I started off with a collection of bones for a museum exhibit, but I think that perhaps the photos and the bones are two separate pieces – not sure yet. Then I got interested in taking the portrait shots of shops and somehow the photograph becomes more of a document of the Victorian buildings in which they are housed. Some of the upstairs windows are really ornamental – Green Lanes N4 and Tottenham Lane N8 specifically. Using black and white dramatically reduces the red, white, blue iconography of the  shop signs. It’s also interesting to check the ornamental dividers between shops, the satellite dishes, to let signs, the different weather conditions and also if people have strayed into (or even posing in) shot. Here are some examples:

I am aware that they might come across as some critical document on fast food and  unhealthy eating in low social economic groups, which is really not my intention. The last thing I want to do is sneer at anybody. I feel involved in this city and in these places. I think these images are the starting point for something else – perhaps a film or even, dare I say it, a performance of sorts.

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About sophiebbarr

I am an artist and a teacher in higher education. For me art is a re-organisation of stuff that's already in the world.
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7 Responses to Chicken Shop as taxonomic photgraphic device

  1. anthonyberet says:

    I like these a lot. I often remark that any part of London is a feast for the eyes just by looking up at the first floor and above. The riot of different styles, with the repetitive shop-signs below.
    The fact that these are all chicken-restaurants lends a way to tie the portraits together. I have always liked the number of different KFC-clones in this part of London. It’s worth recording them as a phenomenon of their own.
    Another approach to shooting them might be HDR colour images at night. That would be visually very striking, maybe not what you want exactly though.

    • sophiebbarr says:

      Thanks Tony, actually I have photographed some chicken shops at night in colour, and would like to continue. Unfortunately I found them so far to be a bit ‘nighthawks at the diner’ and somehow a bit more cliched than the B&W ones. Hmm, HDR never tried that. But now I’ve finished at Kingtson I will hopefully have a bit more time for experimentation. Also I had to stop the B&W project for the summer because the images I got in sunshine looked BAD! That flatness works so much better. Cheers for the tip though!

  2. Pingback: More work from 2010 | Sophie Barr's Blog

  3. MandoTodd says:

    Are you still a vegetarian, Sophie? With yummy chicken like that on offer, I don’t know if I’d be holding out!

    • sophiebbarr says:

      I can remember being extremely hungry travelling for days on a bus through the Himalayas and all I could think about was Kentucky Fried Chicken despite having been a vegetarian for many a year. I’m not veggie any more but I can’t say I’m a regular of the above.

      • MandoTodd says:

        I remember wondering how you could possibly survive eating only french fries. I’m going to guess that you grew up to eat things like tofu and t.v.p.!

        Nice work, by the way! It’s great to see that you are making art. Any music making these days?

  4. sophiebbarr says:

    I have had a fictional (or perhaps just resting) electronic female band called Hot Guts for the past two years. I recently found out that there’s already a Hot Guts so I am considering a name change to Margarine. No performances planned yet, but a web presence and T-shirts coming soon! What’s a band without their marketing?

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