The human eye is automatically attracted to things that are shaped... like humans. Whether it's the anticipation for social interaction or an instinct for survival, we will always look and then choose what to do next.
Light is also a great attractor for the attention of our eyes. Humans will always look toward the brightest objects in our sight. We take interest in illuminated things, and (usually) we have the mind not to be blinded or rendered immobile.
Being reminded of the past, or 're-experiencing' things from one's childhood, also powerfully engages. As humans, we find wonder and art in things that have all but disappeared in our lifetime... like Polaroid pictures.
Take the recent trend in digital photography. Instagram. It's the newest thing in 'social media,' but it's also sort of a reminder of our past; like taking pictures of things we encounter today, and making them look like they were taken with an obsolete Polaroid camera.
(I've included my "Instagram-filtered" photos here, along with the original shots.)
I drove by these shops the past night and was compelled to stop and get some pictures. I'm not one to go "antiquing" and have never visited these places, and I'm sure they look and feel totally different during the day.
But I really liked the 'casual' quality of these window displays because they are unique and pretty much the antithesis of the typical, conventional, "slick" and/or heavily-retouched imagery you tend to find in today's retail environments. Heck, (a vintage word, these days) the "models" (mannequins) here are a bit worn and definitely out-dated.
This part of Magnolia Boulevard (in Burbank) has retained that 'authentic' Main Street ambiance. It's a throwback to those simpler times, like when going to the prom meant going to a school dance with your sweetheart, unlike today, where going to the prom seems to be a competition of material social standing--where a wretched display of excess is highly respected.
Yes, this place is quaint. And yes, most likely these small shops are all loaded with items of pure sentimentality. But sometimes it's good to just stop and admire what makes us warmly remember. Just the memories.
I remember using countless Polaroids to test lighting and composition for my photo assignments; now we all do that stuff with our digital viewscreens.
Rest in peace, Polaroid.
Anthony Pardines is a multimedia artist.
Enjoy more of Anthony's Instagram work at Instagram@buzzpuppy