You may remember Son Emirali from his wonderful publication celebrating the newsagent near where he lives in south east London; a labour of love bringing to life both the shop’s stock and its colourful collection of characters. For his final graduation project, Son has returned to what he calls “my obsession with independent shops” to produce Colony, an exploration of “contemporary shop culture” divided into three parts.
In the first section Son spent a couple of days stacking shelves in the K&K Food Store in Lewisham and has documented what he observed both through really nice photographs and interspersed texts of conversations between himself and the people he met, and between the staff and the customers (the latter of which can be marvellously aggressive exchanges). Overlaying the two different types of discussions – one in red and one in black – gives a really good feel for the rhythm of the world he immersed himself in.
The second section showcases blogger Emily Webber’s collection of interesting shop storefronts while the final part constitutes an in-depth socio-cultural essay by Suzanne Hall (though Son’s neat design decisions stop it becoming too heavy).
Son said: “These independently owned shops are fascinating; they’re physical snapshots of time. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but they also embody underlying issues that lurk within society and culture. They tell stories, not only of our consumer habits but of how we integrate and move geographically.”
Now graduated, Son is surely one to watch over the coming months.