Not just any mall – the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, one of the world’s largest. And not just any parking ramp – this thing stretches for blocks, on the East side of the MOA, and there’s another just as big on the West side. The total capacity is over 12,000 cars.
I live not too far away, and one night I was struck by the the weirdly dystopian sci-fi look of the ramp in the dark, its awesome size, and just the absolute craziness of it: it had to be photographed. It took a couple of return trips to scout out the best vantage point and capture it as a multi image panoramic.
The Mall of America is a colossal temple dedicated to two gods: Retail, and The Automobile. They’re symbiotic – it’s hard to imagine one existing without the other. An endless stream of pilgrims performs a ritual: drive here, park, and buy stuff. But approach this massive edifice on foot, and you’re an unwelcome outsider at the ramparts of a great fortress. See that tiny door to the right of the center of the photo – can I really go in there, is it ok? It looks scary.
At night, from across the street, it’s a Death Star in the blackness. There’s no traffic on a week night with COVID-19 everywhere. No one is walking around here. I stood alone in the darkness and wind and took a series of 7 shots to cover it from end to end.
I stitched the images using the excellent PTGui application, which offers many choices for the projection, and several degrees of freedom to adjust point of view and perspective. It’s all a matter of taste. I chose a projection that I thought conveyed the massive size and the feeling of standing at street level.
I don’t know if anyone else finds this photo interesting, but it says something to me – about the enormous resources we devote to consumer goods, and the vast urban spaces dedicated to the automobile. I had to do it.