In a time when even food is becoming more concept than object, photographer Vladimir Antaki has, over the course of his Guardians project (spotted via Behance), taken to memorializing the physical world. Noting the transition of commodities from the tangible to the digital, the Canadian artist has conceived a series wherein purveyors — of books, of antiques, of steak, of guns, of religion — stand watch over their dying shrines of stuff.
The photos highlight the frenzied potentiality of these spaces — each featured cubby of goods comes with thousands of implied narratives. A candy-and-magazine stand, for example, subconsciously evokes an image of Mike & Ike and Skittles being kneaded and acidized by thousands of commuter stomachs, while the static setting of a gun shop portends a troublingly active conclusion. Antaki’s photos portray shops as the neutral, straightforward beginnings to a variety of consumerist stories, with the vendor acting as a Creator, of sorts. It’s a relationship humanity has known for millennia, but with the digitization of consumerism, it’s sinking into the realm of invisibility — the beginnings of these stories are becoming untraceable.