Appartments of freinds project 2005
In 2005, I was commissioned by Ymere housing cooperation, The House of Anna Frank Foundation, and Amsterdam Escape town Foundation to make a photographic series, later published as part of the book The other house of Anna Frank. The book was dedicated to the transformation of the apartment in which the Frank family lived between 1933-1942 to a historical monument.
Since the end of World War II The apartment was in use, and in 2003 an extensive archive research was made to restore its original pre-WWII look. After the renovations, the apartment was given to Stichting Vluchtstad Amsterdam (Amsterdam Escape Town Foundation).
My work consisted of two parts: A series of interior photographs of immigrant friends’ apartments in Amsterdam and a series of interior shots taken at the Anna Frank apartment monument.
The subject of this series was to touch upon the complex process of identity transformation. The photographs tell different stories of how my friends created ‘homey’ feelings for themselves.
Among the people whose homes I photographed, I identified, roughly, three different attitudes:
My home is my shelter: People who live in temporary places accumulate predominantly necessary everyday objects. The objects’ banality and the ‘all equal’ approach of their owners to interior arrangement create an almost non-personal atmosphere.
My home is a temple to my past: The living space represents ideas about who the person living there is, and what cultural background they come from. The objects are arranged in a symbolic manner that represents the personality of their owner.
My home is a vessel of hopes for the future: The living space recounts a tale in which the objects create an ideal imaginary future.
The work’s actuality lies in the experience of immigration, which is the common thread to both parts of the series. Rather than comparing circumstances from which people emigrate, I focus on the fragility of being an immigrate, an experience that transcends time.