Laura Migliorino - 2-8-2018

Absentia: Abandoned Past

by Laura Migliorino


Absentia: Abandoned Past

 “I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace. Gaston Bachelard Poetics of Space

My work has a long history of capturing the relationship between people and the environments they live in. The intimate nature of housing, shelter and living environment is so essential to how one is defined, that is cannot be separated. As we look at the evolution of the human race from Pre-History to today, how humans shelter themselves is key to understanding a civilization. The work explores the symbiotic, and perplexing relationship between people and their homes. The focus of my work has been on the people, and the human component dominates the content of the image.

Over the past decade work I created involved relationship building, and developing an intimacy with the people I photographed. The projects of the past decade explored diversity in the Twin Cities suburbs; families living in houses migrated from San Diego to Tijuana and the few who still live on the Minnesota Angle. The work was rich and rewarding but now my focus is on the house, the building itself absent of the inhabitants.

The series Absentia: Abandoned Past explores spaces in a state of abandonment or unexpected departure, creating a feeling of being animated and inhabited but absent at the same time. I am interested in the in between period in the life of the house, the transition from one era to another in the lifetime of the place. Houses are like the human body; they are born fresh, clean, and full of hope. The home ages, adapts, and sags; occupants leave traces but take their memories with them. A house may be reborn and be rehabilitated; sometimes it dies and becomes a memory.

The exploration of abandoned homes has a social component that is not always obvious. The reasons why homes are abandoned raise many questions about housing in general and the social political forces about housing privilege. Some of the homes I photograph are in perfect condition and being razed to make way for another million-dollar mansion, this is morally corrupt. Some homes are empty because of foreclosures and bankruptcy another sad commentary on the state of the middle class. Within many of these homes is evidence of homelessness, runaways and addiction.

Window Vines.jpg