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Junk Shop Window

Part of a series of photos and texts that was published as The Good Life in 2014.

I passed this shop window in Paris on my way for a medical check-up and raised an eyebrow at the unlikely combination of articles. I was anxious about the test that would be performed. All went well and on my way back, in high spirits I stopped for a better look. It seemed to me that if you wanted to make a movie out of George Perec’s ‘Life: A user’s manual’, this would be a great way to open it. I won’t go into why everyone should read this book as many times as possible, but they should. Like this junk shop window, it’s a work of enormous optimism in the man-made world. Here we have such a cheerful composition of seemingly disconnected objects that we can’t help imagining, as Perec did, the lives behind them and how they may have knowingly or unknowingly overlapped. We might also ask ourselves who created the arangement and if they did it with calculated skill or random intuition. Either way it seemed to me a work of great beauty and faith in humanity, as convincing as anything you might find in a museum.