Changing Hands (2007- 2014)

 

For the last few years I have been working on a project about estate sales, auctions, and the items sold at these events.  The photographs in the Changing Hands series are about the objects for sale, spaces they are located in, and the people the items once belonged to.  Families are selling items once found important because a death has happened in their lives. The objects that the love one once cherished are no longer useful or desirable to family.  During the sale the home is transformed into a store and items are staged and marketed for the customers.  The items are now focused on the person to buy, on the customer, not on the person it once belonged to. The belongings are now detached. I want to reclaim these discarded objects and bring back their importance.  The objects were once personal items and I see them as substitutes for the people they once belonged to.                     

 

I am fascinated with the personality that antiquarian objects possess and how a person’s intimate belongings reveal specific details about previous owners, but is it possible to document this idea in photographs? The environment of the home has been altered for the sale, in doing so, eliminating the personality of the person. The spaces are no longer about the life that lived there. The images themselves are mostly depleting of personality of the previous owners and represent the calm before the storm.

 

A few summers ago I agreed to setup an estate sale for my grandmother who had recently past away.  I made me realize how one person’s belongings lose their significance once put up for sale. People where interested in acquiring new possessions, not about the home they had before. This disconnect seemed more apparent during this sale because I had prior attachment to the objects involved.