Thousands of Temptations

By: Gustav Hoiland

Feb 21 2012

Category: portrait

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Aperture:f/5.6
Focal Length:17mm
ISO:1600
Shutter:1/30 sec
Camera:Canon EOS 5D Mark II

Behind the Counter

In the midst of a night class covering people photography I was struck by the idea of documenting convenience store operators within their environment. After spending six months working at a job which frequently had me in different cities in the US interviewing convenience store managers, I realized this just might be up my alley. Portraiture of the c-store (C for convenience) laborer, the dispenser of myriad petty indulgences, from lottery tickets to cigarettes to energy drinks. The humans that help us.

There just might be a project here. The corporate 7-11 worker declined, but the subsequent two indie c-stores were staffed by kind, interesting folk who were happy to chat and take part. If nothing else, it’s a big reminder of the importance of autonomy in an operation, or at least the power of freeing people from the global hierarchy and burdens of corporate structure.

I’m particularly interested in retail setups, the mounds of commercial displays that vie for attention and ultimately sales. From my recent readings in psychology to past learnings of retail environments and consumer behavior, this potentially long-term project holds real potential.

So long as I can keep walking in and asking for a favor.

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