1981 to the present
Jim Dow's recent photographic series of British storefronts, "Corner Shops of Britain, 1983-1993,"offers a glimpse into this kind of obsession nurtured over a decade. Forty8-by-10 color contact prints depict the facades of family-run businesses, once keystones in the social and architectural fabric of the high street. Victims less of the recession than of suburbanization - of the one stop park-and-shop mega store - they have been disappearing at the rate of over 3,000 per annum.
Here, as with the grain silos, mine shafts, and other monuments to the demise of industry documented by the Bechers, the drive-in movie screens of Hiroshi Sugimoto, or even the newsstands of Moyra Davey, rarity is a measure of impending extinction.
Records of a way of life, institutions such as Bert's Pie & Mash Shop, 1992, James Smith's Stick Shop, 1985, Baldwin's Homeopathic Chemist, 1993, are captured in the period between the end of a tradition and its eventual resurrection in the form of the curiosity shop,where the purchase of memory is made possible by the homogenizing force of the ECU.
Neville Wakefield, Art Forum, Nov. 1995.