Brian Ulrich

(American, b. 1971; resides in Chicago, IL)

[The Copia series] explores not only the everyday activities of shopping, but the economic, cultural, social, and political implications of commercialism and the roles we play in self-destruction, over-consumption, and as targets of marketing and advertising.  - Brian Ulrich

When, in the wake of September 11th, Americans were encouraged to respond by shopping (so as to maintain the nation’s economic stability), Brian Ulrich began documenting consumerism. Shot in malls, grocery stores, and commercial warehouses, Ulrich’s pictures document the bounty of commercial goods available to consumers and the peculiarities of the places that offer them for sale, but they are particularly concerned with how people act in these spaces. From the cathartic to the catatonic, the shoppers in Ulrich’s pictures may be caught up in fantasy or quite simply overwhelmed, but they are most certainly familiar. The portfolio represented in the Midwest Photographers Project includes work from 2003 to 2008 in the ongoing Copia series.

Brian Ulrich was born in 1971 in Northport, New York. He received a BFA in photography from University of Akron (1996) and an MFA in photography from Columbia College Chicago (2004). He has taught photography at Columbia College Chicago; Gallery 37, Chicago; and the University of Akron, Ohio. His photographs have appeared in the New Yorker, Wired, Adbusters, and the New York Times Magazine. The Museum of Contemporary Photography included his work in the 2005 exhibitionManufactured Self.  Solo exhibitions include 12 × 12 at Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (2005), Copia at Peter Miller Gallery, Chicago (2004), and Produce, Protect, Project at Millworks Gallery, Akron, Ohio (1999). He was recently awarded a 2009 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. Ulrich lives and works in Chicago.