Tuesday, November 18, 2014

At the mall during the 1980s

Gizmodo recently had an article featuring black and white photos taken at a shopping mall during the 1980s. The 80s were the height of American mall culture and the scenes in the photos were very familiar to me, having been a teenager during that time and having spent a lot of time hanging out at malls.

Many of the photos were great, but the one below haunted me a little. The kid wears the accessories of many teenagers of the time. The large sneakers, the headband, a Members Only jacket. And of course, the huge boombox. (I have no idea what's around his neck. Earmuffs?) (I also just noticed that someone is actually using the stall behind him.)

I have the feeling that a lot of people then, and even today, would see in this picture a punk. A loud, obnoxious, troubled teen who they would think was probably a criminal.

I see a confused kid trying to fit in. I see a kid, wearing the uniform of his peers, trying a little too hard to express to the world who he is. I wonder how long it took him to save up for that boombox. Or maybe his parents had money and it cost him nothing. I wonder how long he carried that thing around until he tired of its weight and started leaving it at home. I wonder if this look made him happy. I think he looks a little sad and lost. I wonder what ever happened to him.

The picture makes me sad. I hope he's okay.


David Fair said...

Those are headphones. Duh.

Ipecac said...

I thought about that but it seemed contrary to the point of having a ginormous boombox.

Eric Haas said...

Try taking photos in a mall today, and you’re likely to get arrested.