Visions of grand openings

I photographed the grand opening of a store called AJWright, an affordable clothing retailer, today in Aurora, Ill. Any professional photojournalist can tell you grand openings are filed in the same dreadful category as ribbon cuttings, ground breakings and press conferences. Pretty boring stuff, but as an old editor of mine would preach, you have to shoot the edges of an assignment to find good images. Meaning, don’t shoot the ridiculously obvious and instead look for photos not staged to be documented. Look for the REAL.

I produced some photos of shoppers rushing into the store as it opened, something that surprised me given our current economic condition, but this moment struck me. This group of employees, or “sales associates” as they are called by their supervisor, cheered wildly during a ceremony to open the doors of the store to the public for the first time.

Most people I know are not nearly that spirited and happy to go to work. It occurs to me, though, that if you didn’t previously have a job, your first day on a new gig can be pretty darn uplifting. I’m not suggesting any of these folks were unemployed previously, but good for them for being so excited to get to work. If that type of spirit endures, they probably won’t be “sales associates” for long.

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