Sixteen photographers capture their answer through stark landscapes, half-lit buildings, and colorful portraits.
Fujifilm and Magnum Photos’ collaborative photo book is simply titled “Home.” No other name would have made sense, saturated as the book is with what that word symbolizes. The project spans the globe, from Italy to Australia, and each photographer’s work varies greatly both in form and focus. Some chose to focus on the homes of their past, others on the present; some capture the people who live within their homes, while others shot long, silent landscapes. For 277 pages, the viewer is taken through the way 16 members of the renowned photographic cooperative visualize what it means to live within, long for, or remember a home.
Pauline Vermare curated the show inspired by the book, which opened at New York City’s MILK Gallery in early March and is set now to travel to nine other countries. Vermare writes in the book’s introduction that a trenchant fact about many photojournalists is that they often turn to photographing the lives and places of other people, “precisely because they needed to venture away from a home in which they felt they didn’t quite belong.” But within this book the photographers turn the camera back towards themselves, and the places in which they are or have been rooted.
That examination manifests itself in myriad ways. Alec Soth photographed what he saw on his walks to and from his artist’s studio in Minneapolis: books in a cardboard box left out on the curb, yawning concrete gaps behind buildings, a canoe getting swallowed by greenery. Mark Power’s photographs are centered around the lead-up to his daughter, Chilli, leaving their family home in Brighton, England for university in London. Some images are of Chilli herself, or different members of the family, and still others depict little details of home life: fake eyelashes in a shallow bowl, a jug of half-dead flowers that casts a long shadow.
When Moises Saman first heard about the project, he originally thought about shooting in Tokyo, where he lives. But soon, he said, “it became evident that I wanted to take this opportunity to explore a little bit more the issue of where I came from.” He decided to go back to Peru, where he was born but had spent little time. “It was strange,” said Saman, “because even though there was a familiarity to the place, it was still very much foreign to me.” The ensuing photographs capture goats, makeshift kitchens, and marketplaces. Saman focuses not on a particular structure and the world within it, but rather on the country as a whole. He was astonished by Peru’s diversity, both in terms of geography and inhabitants, as he traveled around the country.
Thomas Dworzak travelled around the world—Bavaria, Georgia, Iran—to capture the places he had called home: places that he says still burn within him. Of Tblisi, Georgia, in particular, Dworzak wrote in the forward to his photo set, “I force myself away for longer periods but am sure to always come back. And still, I will always remain a foreigner…I think I will never gain the same level of understanding, the language, the dialect, the humor, than whenever I return to visit my father in that place I left so desperately 30 years ago.” Dworzak photographed his father in the Bavarian village from which he was deported as a child; his wife in Tehran; his friends in Tblisi. While Dworzak also included images of location and scenery, it is clear that, for him, home is haunted by the people who inhabit it.
It is impossible for “home” to be interpreted exactly the same way by different people, influenced as we are by entirely different things: the way light strikes the wall of our favorite diner, the curve of our grandmother’s cheek, the way it feels to walk the same street for years. But the book proves that there are many ways to think about a home, and even more ways to visualize it.
Home is available for purchase at the Magnum shop.