The camera is a moving box.
When moving, we take everything we own and pack our possessions into moving boxes. We compartmentalize our lives: KITCHEN, BEDROOM, BATHROOM, identifying our past with a magic marker, taping shut our history, ready to leave one place and arrive at a new. A new home.
We move forward with our belongings. The boxes are heavy. They are costly for the move, the transportation is costly, packing everything is time consuming and we are just ready to move on.
The boxes become a burden and we consider selling or giving away everything and start over new. But we lug the heavy boxes with us. They are bulging with our identities, neatly labeled as to who we are and in what room each possession belongs. Bed linens are labeled BEDROOM. Toiletries are labeled BATHROOM. Dishes are labeled KITCHEN and FRAGILE. The labels are an obvious reminder but we need the reminder:
Dishes go in the kitchen.
Dishes are fragile.
The labels guide us and they make the burdensome task of sorting through our lives easier. These are the dishes on which we had our first meal together. These are the dishes on which we ate last time our family got together at Christmas. They are memories.
Memories go in the kitchen.
Memories are fragile.
For some of us, these boxes are never unpacked. They are kept sealed, stored in the back of the closet. But we keep these belongings because they remind us of who we are and where we have been.
We arrive at our new home. The walls are
bare, no family portraits. No books on the shelves. No identity. But we have arrived. We are here in this new place. So we unpack. Our books go on the shelves, family portraits on the wall. We look at our possessions, everything that says who we are and we begin to understand who we will be in this new home. Our belongings are still our belongings. We are still ourselves but we are something new. We look at the random collection of objects that speak to our history, who we are, where we’ve lived, and who we were in each of those places. We consider who we will be now.
As photographers, our cameras are our moving boxes full of our belongings. Consider these images as some of our belongings, which have just been unpacked, hung on the walls and arranged on the shelves of this book. Consider this book our new home.
In this book we have displayed who we are. Through or photographs we communicate our identity and in doing so, we want you the viewer, our guest in our new home, to look at who we are. But even more importantly we want you to feel welcome in our home, as though our home is yours. As though our identity is one we share with yours and as though, perhaps, where we come from and how we understand the world is very similar to how you understand the world.
- SHAUN H KELLY, ME