The archive of private space
For more than twenty years I have been working on a photographic project called Domestic Landscapes. This project is about light – the natural daylight in the interior of a house. It is about the light in which I grew up in the early sixties in a remote area in the East of Holland. The house that I was born and raised in, was demolished when I was eight years of age because my father took over the business of his father and needed to modernize.
Entering the new house on the old spot, a little less than a year later, made me realize that all my memories, in fact all of my life’s history, was connected to the old house, the one I would never ever see again. The knowledge of the fact that it was gone forever, made such an impression on me that it made me try to reconstruct the memory of my youth by photographing other people’s places in which I found
the same atmosphere.
The light that I’m searching for finds it origin in houses that were built in the pre-electricity architecture. That way of building, in which daylight was the main source of light, gives the ‘clairobscur’ that we know so well from the paintings by Pieter de Hoogh, Josef Israëls, Johannes Vermeer and Rembrandt. Those situations have been around in Europe for many many centuries and started to disappear rapidly after WW-II when a new way of building was introduced in which electricity was integrated from the start in the original plan. This also changed the functionality of the houses and brought a totally different atmosphere to the interior.
The title Domestic Landscapes also refers to the idea that the homes that I photographed form a landscape of the life of the people that live in it. These homes have changed just as slowly through the years as the landscapes in which I found them. The people in the photos have aged with their habitats and have become part of it.