Relive the Weirdness of 80s Mall Culture

Photos by Michael Galinsky

30 years ago, Michael Galinksy took a trip across America shooting every mall he came across.

It was the tail-end of the 80s—the hair was big, and the demand for The Gap even bigger. At the urging of his college teacher, Michael burnt rubber across the country, documenting every walk of American life that congregated in the mundane malls peppering the highways. After boxing his rolls of film for nearly two decades, Michael’s dusted his best shots off and is putting them together in a limited-edition book titled, The Decline of Mall Civilisation. The book is like sifting through a time capsule of America’s dirty little consumerist secrets; where Madonna vinyl held pride of place in record store windows and arcade games swallowed pocket money like Pacman.

‘My experience with these images has taught me a lot about how our brains work, how we process images, and what this tells us about our past and our future,’ says Michael of the series. ‘I’m becoming increasingly nostalgic for a time before the Internet. I love how this spidery web helped my images reach so many people, and I love how it connects me to others. However, I worry about where we’re going. Although I hated the mall when I made these images, even I am nostalgic for a time in which we were somewhat more unified by culture—dreaming back a feeling that I never really had at all.’

Why be disappointed you missed out on a copy of The Decline of Mall Civilisation when you can pre-order your copy right here? To learn more about the project, head to Michael’s website

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