UAL Award in Art,
Design & Media
— level 2
Project: Home Sweet Home During the Coronavirus Pandemic
For me, home is a location (United Kingdom; England; London; South West London) and it’s where I reside; it’s my base. My current home is a small apartment in Barnes, SW London. It is a practical space measuring only double digit square meters. It is a bricks and mortar commodity; convenient for my lifestyle, commuting, parks and trails. Rather than having any kind of status, nostalgia or sentimental value, my home serves as a functional retreat – pied-à-terre or lock-up-and-leave. Since I live alone, home for me is a sanctuary; combined with the vibrancy and diversity that London affords.
Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, I jumped at every opportunity to escape my surroundings and get away. If home is where the heart is, my heart is somewhere rural, or someplace tied to my hobbies.
Since physical distancing and lockdown began in March 2020, my apartment serves as an exercise studio, office and study, as well as being a place for entertainment, cooking, resting, pausing, thinking, sleeping, dreaming and even sunbathing.
While my home’s interior is neutral and functional, there are some features that cast a gaze at my priorities. In particular, a love of plants, tech, workout equipment scattered about, wetsuits hanging from a pull-up bar in a door frame, and sportswear on laundry airers.
Walls and shelves provide a small impression of my life – a few framed prints and posters provide a pop of color to muted tones. Generally, my home is relatively clutter free (but not minimal) – as much as that’s possible in a compact apartment.
Artists ideas, materials and techniques focusing on the theme of home, including Ana Cuba, Gregory Crewdson, Duane Michals, William Eggleston, Ernst Haas, and Luke Dray and Martin Dimitrov of Getty Images.
Ana Cuba (b. 1989) is a London-based photographer, having moved from Barcelona to London after graduating in 2011. Ana worked as a Photo Editor at Monocle Picture Desk for three years, before studying at ECAL in Lausanne, and returned to London in 2015, to work on the launch of i-D/Vice’s channel Amuse. In 2016, Ana established herself as a freelance photographer, and has shot for many well-known brands and publications.
Ana’s personal project, Lockdown times speaks to me of home, with subjects being in and around the proximity of the home.
Gregory Crewdson (b. 1962) is an American photographer. He photographs tableaux of American homes and neighborhoods.
Crewdson’s photographs of houses, landscapes, and people have become canonical representations of the liminal and forgotten in America. Series such as Twilight (1998–2002), Beneath the Roses (2003–08), Cathedral of the Pines (2013–14), and An Eclipse of Moths (2018–2019) show fantastical scenes of wonder and anxiety, their quiet, bristling stillness implying an airless claustrophobia that persists even in wide-open expanses.
While much of his work captures deprived and decaying homes and neighborhoods in America – expressing brokenness and longing. Crewdson uses meticulous production techniques and a technical crew for each photograph. For, An Eclipse of Moths, Crewdson spent months scouting and staging before production began: a taxi depot, a traveling carnival lot, an abandoned factory complex, defunct bars and diners, and vacant storefronts.
Crewdson says: “the figures in the photographs are surrounded by vast decaying industrial landscapes and the impinging nature―and there’s a certain underlying suggestion of anxiety. But I hope in the end the theme of nature persisting, and of figures seeking out light, offers hope for renewal, even redemption.”
Duane Michals (b. 1932) is an American photographer whose work makes innovative use of photo-sequences, often incorporating text to examine emotion and philosophy.
Since 1958, Duane Michals has been making photographs which investigate themes of memory, mortality, love, and loss. Constantly interpreting and re-interpreting the world around him, Michals never stagnates and always finds new ways to understand the human experience through his idiosyncratic combination of philosophy, humor, history, and stark emotion.
The images in his Empty New York (April 24 – May 31, 2014) exhibition, taken over a half a century ago, include New York landmarks such as Penn Station, the Metropolitan Opera House, and Washington Square Hotel as well as ordinary locales, such as a laundromat, a shoeshine station, or an empty booth in a neighborhood diner. The series reflects Duane Michals’ admiration for the work of French photographer Eugene Atget who memorably photographed the streets of Paris.
William Eggleston (b. 1939) is an American photographer. He is widely credited with increasing recognition for color photography as a legitimate artistic medium.
First photographing in black-and-white, Eggleston began experimenting with color in 1965 and 1966, using the dye-transfer process that resulted in some of Eggleston’s most striking and famous work, such as his 1973 photograph entitled The Red Ceiling, of which Eggleston said: “The Red Ceiling is so powerful, that in fact I’ve never seen it reproduced on the page to my satisfaction. When you look at the dye it is like red blood that’s wet on the wall…. A little red is usually enough, but to work with an entire red surface was a challenge.”
American artist Edward Ruscha said of Eggleston’s work: “When you see a picture he’s taken, you’re stepping into some kind of jagged world that seems like Eggleston World.”
According to Philip Gefter from Art & Auction: “It is worth noting that Stephen Shore and William Eggleston, pioneers of color photography in the early 1970s, borrowed, consciously or not, from the photorealists. Their photographic interpretation of the American vernacular—gas stations, diners, parking lots—is foretold in photorealist paintings that preceded their pictures.”
Ernst Haas (b. 1921) was an Austrian-American photojournalist and color photographer. During his 40-year career, Haas bridged the gap between photojournalism and the use of photography as a medium for expression and creativity. Haas was an early innovator in color photography, and his images were the subject of the first single-artist exhibition of color photography at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Haas served as president of the cooperative Magnum Photos, and his book The Creation (1971) was one of the most successful photography books ever, selling 350,000 copies.
When Haas moved from Vienna to New York City in 1951, he left behind a war-torn continent and a career producing black-and-white images. For Haas, the new medium of color photography was the only way to capture a city pulsing with energy and humanity. Haas’s collection entitled New York in Color (1952 – 1962) demonstrates his virtuosity and confidence with the technical challenges of color printing at the time – the images are rich in color and brim with lyricism and dramatic tension.
Luke Dray is a British photographer. He has won several awards for his work, including from the World Photography Organisation and UK Picture Editors Guild. His photographs have been used by organisations including TIME, Washington Post, Guardian, New York Times and The Sunday Times among others.
Over the past year Luke has worked on interesting projects that capture and question the notion of home, from the project: Londoners Stay At Home During The Coronavirus Pandemic to migrants crossing the English Channel and Calais Jungle evictions.
Other Getty Images photographers have covered the topic of staging home during Covid-19 pandemic, such as the below photograph taken by Martin Dimitrov: