This is madness! No, this is BLACK FRIDAY!

Black Friday 2013 006

Last night, I documented the crowds lining up in front of retail stores downtown as the holiday tradition of Black Friday officially spilled over to Thanksgiving Thursday.  (See here.)  Despite mountains of work piled on my desk, I decided to take a personal day today and took my street-shooter and 35mm lens back into the lion’s den, concentrating mostly on Michigan Avenue.

Black Friday 2013 009

It was par for the course on a typical Chicago Black Friday.  Pedestrian and vehicle traffic merging into some indifferent three-way skirmish at crosswalks, with two opposing crowds clashing into one another like some ancient Roman battle while crossing to the other side as cars attempt to creep through the human barrier—it’s amazing that no one got trampled on or ran over.  Lines at checkout weaving between aisles, growing and branching like trees.  Bargain hunters inundating the clothes racks, some with direct purpose, others wandering about like mindless zombies.  Tired shoppers seeking refuge at corners and the floor to rest their feet and check their phones.

Black Friday 2013 015

Despite this insanity, after a few hours of shooting and perhaps due to some fatigue, I ended up succumbing and did some shopping as well, for myself and gifts for my family.  I feel like an idiot for partaking, but sometimes when doing reportage photography, it becomes all too easy to get involved into the scene despite any photojournalistic creed of noninterference.

Black Friday 2013 012

All images © K. Dao Photography 2013, all rights reserved.