These photographs are part of my project Ethnographies of the Everyday.
Below is the abstract or artist statement that goes along with it.
Ethnographies of the Everyday
Ethnography is the product of Anthropology and Sociology. It is the material representation of a culture and can take on many different forms, such as the written word, film, or photography. Ethnographies of the Everyday is a photographic project that involves looking into people’s daily life and activities. It is about providing an insight into and a sense of understanding for how people live their lives and why, what makes them who they are, and it highlights how different people repeat similar patterns of behaviour in their day-to-day activities.
This project has been produced with an anthropological methodology in mind by observing and photographing the specificities of everyday life. This includes examining the way people behave around and relate to each other, the kinds of things they do, the type of clothes they wear, the objects they surround themselves with, and the setting in which they live. Photographs can record not only physical details of people but also, for that moment of time, a person’s exact facial expressions and body language; this can reveal to the viewer how a person might feel, their mannerisms or personality, and how they interact socially and feel about others. This photographic investigation focuses on the common patterns and rituals that emerge in the way people go about their everyday life.
Photographs can tell a story: they can become part of the narrative; saying things that can't be put into words. They have the ability to provide an analysis of a person, place or society. The artist has taken care to photograph things as they actually happen, to ensure that some kind of truth can be revealed. These photographs show things as they are; the people in the photographs are actually sleeping, eating and interacting with one another - they are not acting out a scene and have not been influenced by the photographer. This provides the work with an anthropological integrity.
All of the photographs in Ethnographies of the Everyday have been taken in the subjects’ own homes: their domestic space. The reason for this approach comes from the belief that a person’s character and values are not only shaped by the environment they live in, but also that it is revealed by the type of things they fill their homes with. The setting in which the photographs have been taken and the objects that make up the room are of equal importance as the people that feature within it. Objects are often placed around the home as symbolic reminders of people, places and significant events – a kind of showcasing of the things that are important. Jean Baudrillard, in his book The System of Objects, explains that “what gives the houses of our childhood such depth and resonance in memory is clearly this complex structure of interiority, and the objects within it serve for us as boundary markers of the symbolic configuration known as home.”
Each photograph has been taken with a medium format film camera, which requires a slower and more considered way of working. The photographer has to wait and watch for exactly the right moment before setting off the shutter, to make sure that what is captured is worth showing.