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15 Beautifully Cluttered Portraits Of Independent Shop Owners From Around The World

Independent stores are captured in all their chaotic glory in this colourful photo series by Vladimir Antaki.

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Forget giant shopping malls and supermarkets the size of airports. The real beauty of commerce can be seen in these portraits of store owners, who sum up the spirit of independent trading.

French-Lebanese photographer Vladimir Antaki shot these photos as part of his series The Guardians, which provides an intimate glimpse into the proud world of the sole trader.

1. Jainul, New York City

Vladimir Antaki / Barcroft

Jainul was Antaki's first subject. The photographer spotted him in New York, where he was drawn to the colourful array of sweets and magazines on offer, all packed into a tiny space.

These stores possess a nostalgic and humane quality that is difficult to find in other commercial environments. I left it to fate to take me to all these magical places. I walk around the city without any specific itinerary. I love getting lost.
It's a project that is based on my intimate relationship with coincidence and fate and on the amazing surprises they have in store for me. I want my Guardians to look majestic – this is why I portray them in a way that clashes with the way people see them in everyday life.