Christmis-en-scene

You've heard of window shopping? For the season, we offer 'shop windowing'

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David Pierini and Ken Trainor

Photographer and Editor

Mis-en-scene is the French cinematic term for "placement in the frame." We thought about that and about the film Little Shop Around the Corner (Jimmy Stewart, Margaret Sullavan, 1940, great holiday film) as we ambled through the local business districts this holiday shopping season.

Each shop window is a mini-mis-en-scene, a framed work of art. But the frames also tell a story, especially when people enter the frame.

Storefronts look their seasonal best, of course, when darkness imposes its dominion, providing a cozy contrast to the cold outside. Diners aren't just dining. They're intertwining, sharing a meal. Or musing in silent solitude, making mental lists, checking them twice.

Shoppers aren't just browsing but customizing, pairing products with a person, working their way through their list of loved ones, transforming mere objects into thoughtful gifts that might just make someone's December.

Commerce becomes communal as storefronts entice, offering their rebuttal to nightfall. They invite our voyeurism (from without) and exhibitionism (from within) — through the looking glass, as it were, through the glass lightly.

The point of it all, after all, is attraction, which leads to connections, and connection leads to a transfer of "goods" and "services," the original meaning of "commerce."

White lights and brightly colored baubles, poinsettias, faux snow and virtual icicles, outlined in evergreen garland, adds midwinter magic to the mix.

Only a few days left. Don't forget to stop and smell the potpourri, and remember to admire the scenery. Our little shops around the corner.

Christmis-en-scene! Joie de vivre!

Reader Comments

2 Comments - Add Your Comment

Comment Policy

Carrie Marling Bankes from Oak Park, Illinois  

Posted: December 19th, 2012 11:53 AM

So often here in Oak Park we focus on what retail we DON'T have or what storefronts are empty. Thank you for reminding me of what we DO have here. No Oakbrook Mall for me! I'm shopping & dining local as much as possible this season.

Sarah@OakPark.com from Oak Park  

Posted: December 19th, 2012 11:09 AM

There is a certain kind of magic in Windows around the holidays. And you've caught that in these photos.

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