Recently, after 35 years of living in Highland Park, IL, we moved back to Chicago. To help sell our house we hired an individual to “stage” it. In addition to getting rid of all of the clutter, furniture was moved, rooms re-arranged, some artwork removed, and many bookcases packed up.
The result was a beautiful house, more beautiful then it had ever been. Yet, while it was our house, it wasn’t our house. It was the idea of a house, but not quite ours. The experience was unsettling, promoting nostalgia and reflection. We thought about raising our two children, re-examined all of the stages our home went through and the many improvements we made. We pondered our careers and work, the parents we lost during our time in the house, our children growing into adulthood, and our professional retirements.
Using my twin lens, film, medium format Mamyia 220C, bought by my wife and me as our wedding present, I created two interconnected series, Staged and Leaving. In Staged I viewed the house as created by the individual who redesigned our home. In Leaving I used the one-day between our move and the closing of the house to capture it without any belongings. This interim day represented the space between two families in transition, the end of one family’s abode and the beginning of another. While totally empty the house was full of the lives of all who lived there since it was built in 1937 and the anticipation of those to come.
Staged and Leaving arise from deep emotions and life transitions.