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I shop, therefore I am

This photographic project is an essay on which I started to work a year ago. It shows the consumer society in a post-industrial era and how our shopping experience influences our identity. For this photo series I have asked strangers and my friends to wear a shopping bag on their heads from a favourite brand or a store, or to lend me their favourite clothing items for a photoshooting, to show how affected we have become by the culture of consumerism.

We don‘t only buy products, but lifestyles. As a result, consumption becomes a vehicle for the exhibition of our identity construct. Whether we are aware of that or not, the products and brands we choose to buy make a statement, act as signals of identity and express the construct and information about our self-image to ourselves and to others. When we engage in the pursuit of pleasure we are often no longer able to stop that habit, and we miss the true sense of our live.

Change begins as a changed pattern of expectations, perceptions and world connections. Sometimes we need a break from the routine to change our habits. The coronavirus is not only changing our lives drastically but it also gives us the opportunity to reflect on our lives. We may ask ourselves, how our life will look like when the coronavirus is over? Will everything be the same as before? Will the wine or the coffee taste the same as before? What will make us wonder while looking back?

Maybe we will be surprised that the social sacrifices that we had to make didn’t lead us to isolation but to a happier and stronger inner self with more self-awareness, a good sense of own values and a new clarity in life. Paradoxically, the physical distance, to that the virus is forcing us, can also create a new closeness and a new culture of communication. It is on us whether we will see it as a change or a void; if we will be able to change our view and stop our obsessions in the throw-away society and overconsumption