It is late August now, and I went this past Sunday for a walk at the Mall. It is both a melancholy and an expectant time. I feel for school children, now doomed to succumb to the demands of “back to school,” and soon my easy commute to work will be slowed by a convoy of school buses. It not only seems, but is, inevitable. However, right now it is very quiet and, when I got to the mall, it was largely silent. My favorite coffee stop wasn’t even open yet, and I watched as the Godiva chocolatier, the woman who stands in the window and dips fruits in luscious dark and creamy chocolate, sleepily unlocked the door to the shop, closed yet to the public as she performed her magic.
I have in the past advocated that photographers document the ephemera of our times, the trends, and the soon-to-be obsolete. On this particular Sunday morning I happened upon one of those giant vending machines. This one sold acne creams – indeed, America’s #1 Acne Brand. That struck me as strange and worthy of a photograph before someone realizes how stupid an idea it is. Is it perhaps catering to the embarrassment of teens who want to buy these treatments in private? What could be more private than the middle of a shopping mall? Hello there, people!
So I took the photograph of Figure 1 before these machines disappear completely. I have seen them before selling IPhones and tablets. That really perplexes me. Have you ever had a vending machine fail to deliver a Coke, when you were parched and dying of thirst, seen your favorite chip dangle tantalizingly close to release but never quite making it? In both cases your money is gone. I mean, like I’m really going to risk eight hundred dollars making a purchase at a machine. This is not the singularity it is singularly stupid!
There I was Sunday morning. I was struck by the juxtaposition. America’s #1 Acne Brand stood right next to the Bank of America ATM. And if you think this was coincidental then puzzle me this. There is a second America’s #1 Acne Brand on the other side of the mall, right next to the Bank of America. So there I was standing before the triple altars of mammon, clear skin and the sacred pretzel. You will note that the pretzel even has its own halo. I am spiritually exhausted. I resign myself to this misappropriation of the sacred. But I do stop to photograph it in the hope that it will soon disappear.