What makes a home a home? It’s said it’s where the heart is. If a home is the people in it, is it still home when the people are absent?
In my new art series I have been exploring this very question. What makes a house more than just accommodation? What makes it a habitat and how is that habitat identifiably yours? How does our identity stamp itself on the bricks and mortar we spend our days and nights in? In a time where Pinterest-worthy houses vie to show how ‘individual’ they are, all the while aspiring to the same show house ideal, is a home a home if it’s a work in progress? If it’s rented or temporary accommodation or simply a roof over our heads?
For me a home is made a home in the personal details. The crumbs on the table after breakfast, the unmade beds, the disorganised tumble of books stacked on a shelf groaning under the weight, even in the pile of toys carelessly thrown on the floor and left there when a toddler’s mind skipped to the next exciting thing (irritating though it may be to have to go and tidy away!), the treasures gathered over the years, the thrift store finds, the photos on the mantlepiece, the scratches on the table that was once a dining table and is now the kids’ craft centre!
If home is where the heart is, then in my house, the heart is often a little messy (ok a lot – apart from the 10 minutes after the cleaner has been!), fairly disorganised and cluttered, often with things out of place or stuffed in a box for a semblance of momentary tidiness. But it’s also a place where there is a lot of fun and creativity and where beauty can be found even amidst the crumbs.
As a London documentary family photographer it’s sometimes easy to overlook those details and focus on the people, so I’ve started to document those little traces of what makes my home a home. When the children are at school or nursery and the husband is at work, and it’s just me pottering, working, sighing at the pile of laundry or dirty dishes (ok maybe watching a bit of TV and ignoring all the work and laundry there is to be getting on with!), these are the reminders of what makes this a home – a family – the traces of the people who live and love here.
These are the details that I’ll want to recall – in the years when our home is a little quieter, a little less chaotic, a little less messy and fewer toys spilling out of every box and surface. Wherever we live when those days come, it will still be our home – wherever we may be scattered – and I’ll be able to look back at the building blocks of what makes our home, ours. And it won’t be in the bricks we live within, it’ll be in the fingerprints we’ve left along the way.
These images were all taken on one day – January 9th 2019. I will be adding to the art series throughout the years with new days documented as our home evolves.
Mini ‘Home is Where the HeArt is’ sessions are now available. 30 minute sessions in your home documenting the details of your home including a small photobook of your final images. £85. Limited mid-week availability. Contact me for details.