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Single price shops have elevated to consuming sanctuaries worldwide. According to the Fung Business Intelligence Centre they have become remarkably popular in the UK, as the low-price, no-frills formula has found particular resonance in Britain’s era of sluggish economic growth. Everything a household needs can be found for one pound (£1). From decoration, cleaning products and gardening tools to clothes, toys, cosmetics and food.

“Less for more” philosophy encourages spending on bargain deals, which at the same time is perceived as a reward. Often there is considerable savings, since single price retailers can source renowned products cheaply and keep the costs low.  Chinese manufacturing has also been vital for pound shops. The items that people struggle to believe can be made for less than one pound – anything from shoes and vases to bags and fishing rods - are made in China. And that’s what makes One-Pound Shops fascinating and fun; there is an array of bizarre unclassified objects of questionable quality on display.

I’ve been collecting items sold in One-Pound Shops across London since 2012. I then photograph them against a plain background in the still life approach as seen in a super market catalogue. Looked at independently of their real use, some of those objects lend themselves to playful compositions.

My intention is to question ideas about quality, quantity, manufacture, counterfeit, consumption and profit. I see these products as the face of today’s retail economy and I examine them under the photographic microscope. This showcase isolates and enlarges those emblems of the everyday under the light of their actual value.

One Pound Shop

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Yiannis Katsaris