Monday, December 03, 2012

Mock shop fronts

click photo to enlarge
One of the few growth industries in these depressed times is the mock shop front. These are either manufactured in printed form, ready to be applied to the protective boarding that is fixed to the empty property, or more often, hand-painted by a local artist/painter. I've noticed quite a few of these on my travels, and over the past few years the number has visibly increased.

The main reason for their appearance is the closure of town-centre businesses unable to continue trading due to the economic downturn, and the understandable unwillingness of local traders and councils to have their high streets blighted by too many obviously empty premises. Of course, the growth of out-of-town shopping centres with their plentiful, free parking closed high street shops well before the onset of the latest economic crisis. But, what was a managed decline has, since 2008, increased to the point where something had to be done. A mock shop front is clearly only a stop-gap measure, but longer-term solutions are slower to appear and so these representations are not entirely without value.

I've seen examples that are banal, amateurish and inventive. One or two have been obvious labours of love and quite admirable. Today's example, in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, falls somewhere in the middle of this range. It represents an old-style butcher's shop with a range of meats, pies, game etc. all priced using pre-decimal currency values. It's a facade I've wanted to photograph before, but only on my recent visit to the town was the view of it unimpeded by parked vehicles.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 50mm
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/320
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation:  -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On