In films, life often plays out against the most spectacular backdrops, in front of breathtaking sweeping vistas or (if you’re an American director shooting in London) next to Big Ben. But the truth is we don’t live our lives in such spaces – for the most part they are set in far more prosaic locations. Son Emirali has captured the importance of the humdrum space with his wonderful new book Fosters Newsagents, a beautiful love letter to the corner shop near where he lives in south east London.
Through really nice photography and transcripts of conversations between the shopkeeper Rodney and some of his customers, Son immerses us in this self-contained little world and brings it to life.
But he also carries out an “intensive investigation” of the shop, cataloguing every bit of stock from the naughty magazines to the indigestion tablets – no mean feat as you’ll appreciate if you’ve ever set foot in such an Aladdin’s cave of a convenience store. There’s clever design touches too including a great use of gatefolds to draw you further in to the subject and it comes in an old-school white paper bag, of the sort in which you might get bonbons.
This is an oddly touching, quintessentially British project which has clearly been a real labour of love for its author.