I have a long list of projects without endings. Projects I’ve started without knowing when they’ll finish. It’s nice to finish things. It’s nice to be able to see a firm end approaching. At the close of 2012 I decided to visit all the Deseret Industries stores across the west. It seemed like a great project – one that would have a definite end. At the time I didn’t really think they expanded across the entire West.
Update: As of the summer of 2014, I’ve visited every single Deseret Industries. All 42 of them. 7500+ miles of driving and dozens of second hand flannel shirts. Many of the miles done with a 4 yr old, a 6 yr old and a pregnant lady. Later many, many miles done with a 4 yr old, a 6 yr old and an infant. I averaged 85 photos per store for a total of over 3500 photographs.
Turns out they go from Utah to Idaho, to Nevada, Arizona, and into California. There’s also some in Washington and Oregon. In February Leah and I drove to the Nevada (Las Vegas) stores and stores in Mesa, Phoenix, and Tucson. In July we went to the Washington, Oregon, and California stores.
There’s a lesson in here somewhere. A lesson about the obsession to acquire objects, the compulsive need to have the newest, and the human the predisposition toward disposable things. Perhaps there’s a lesson about the overall disposable nature of humanity itself. Some things you should never buy because they will inevitably end up in a pile of similar items in a Desert Industries somewhere. Golf Clubs. Barbie dolls. Wicker baskets. Plaid couches.
I wanted to create a series of photos that make it seem as if you’ve been in a Deseret Industries. If you’ve been inside one, it’s my hope my photos are instantly recognizable as such. I want you to hear the squeak of the floor, the screaming of the kids, the bickering over $0.25 cents of the old people. I want you to smell the store. The smell of old clothes, damp upholstery, and sweat-stained polyester. It’s a smell that’s only half-washed off with hand sanitizer later. It’s a smell that sticks in your hair, your clothes. A smell that becomes a feeling.
DI is more than that though – I’ve been surprised at the level of corporate branding and the similarity between stores. I’m also surprised at how nice the stores are, how friendly the staff is, and how clean the bathrooms always are. The LDS church must employ thousands through DI. It’s been a great project so far. And I’m always creeped out by the Barbie bin…
List of Deseret Industries Stores In Alphabetical Order:
American Fork, UT Blackfoot, ID Boise, ID Brigham City, UT Burley, ID Calimesa, CA Cedar City, UT
- Centerville, UT
Chula Vista, CA Colton, CA Delta, UT(Closed) Downtown SLC, UT Federal Way (South Seattle), WA Harrisville (North Ogden), UT Idaho Falls, ID Las Vegas (south), NV Layton, UT Logan, UT Los Angeles, CA Mesa, AZ Murray, UT Nampa, North Las Vegas, NV Phoenix, AZ Pocatello, ID Portland, OR Preston, ID Price, UT Provo, UT Rexburg, ID Richfield, UT Sacramento, CA Sandy, UT Seattle, WA St. George, UT Sugarhouse, UT Tooele, UT Tucson, AZ Twin Falls, ID Vernal, UT Welfare Square (West SLC), UT West Jordan, UT West Valley City, UT
Crossed out stores are ones we’ve visited.