‘Home’ – one thousand tiny moments. Documenting the warmth, clutter and light of home.
An installation at Sweets Workshop, Summer Hill, Sydney, 2013
What people saw at the gallery and online
- 3 metre by 3.2 metre photo collage made up of about 1,000 photos taken over the past year in and around our house.
- Images of homing pigeons in flight around the room.
- Website featuring ‘home’ themed content made by myself and other artists and writers.
Oddly enough, this project started with a fortuitous meeting with some pigeons. I have always had a fascination with homing pigeons and there are quite a lot in the Inner West. I love watching them fly up and down in formation. One day I was out taking photos around our area and saw some pigeons flying around. A guy came up to me and asked me why I was photographing them. I said that I thought they were beautiful and he proudly told me they were his birds and asked me back to his place to take a closer look. While I was there he did another run of the birds and I was amazed at their grace and skill. They all moved as one, doing cool tricks in the air and then swooping back to earth. That morning I had been grumpy that it was an overcast day, meaning that the light was quite flat, but the cloud-cover made a huge light-box in the sky! I was so excited when I looked at the photos back at home. The pigeons (above) were luminous and inspiring.
I wondered how I could turn these photos into an exhibition. I decided that a whole exhibition of pigeons wouldn’t work, but what stuck with me was the way that even though the pigeons are free to leave, they always choose to go home. I found that really poignant, and I could identify with it. This inspired me to document my life in our home. A place I choose to return to again and again.
Up until having a child, I didn’t spend very much time at home. I was either out working or socialising. But that’s totally changed now – I rarely go out at night, and on the days I’m not working I spend a big chunk at home with Leo. It took me a long time to adjust to that life and be present in the moment and enjoy it.
Photography had to be the medium because it’s so fast and it’s something Leo lets me do while we’re hanging out. We both enjoy ourselves because taking photos makes me happy, and he loves to see them after I take them. I love Leo’s photos too (taken on Jeff’s iPod). He has made a collage of them here.
I can get hung up in having the house looking tidy all the time (which is just not possible with a pre-schooler!), so I used the process of taking these photographs as a way of reminding myself that good enough is good enough and perfection isn’t the goal. Taking photos helps me go with the flow. A couple of times I moved something to try and get a better photo, or wiped away some dust, and I just couldn’t use those photos in the end because they didn’t ring true.
I’ve always been interested in the beauty of everyday things, and I find Leo’s interest and enthusiasm for the world very inspiring. He is alive to the simplest beauty – whether it be a play of light on a wall or a chalk mark on the ground. We enjoy doing craft together and that’s often a process I photograph too.
I am a bit of a hoarder and I love making lists and categorising things, so documenting our lives really appealed to me. One of the sections of the collage which forms the major part of the installation features all the collections of things we have: toothbrushes, teapots, rubberbands, bread tags etc.
I hope that people who came to the exhibition went home and looked at some of the items they’ve seen a million times – like tangled cords and washing on the line – in a different way.
- Interview with Beth Taylor on the Sweets Workshop website