ate Daum MRes. Anthropologsity College London

Artist’s Comments

Fragments and Memories

An empty house was acquired and was about to be renovated. I was invited to document the house through photography prior to the start of building works. This was not a before-and-after exercise but an attempt to make us understand more about the implications of renovation, and capture some of the essence of the house that might be lost, removed or buried even during a sensitive restoration; by definition a renovation is an intrusion on the existing, whether it improves it or not.

When I first arrived and inspected the property I was disappointed. Although in a stupendous unspoilt setting in a small hamlet with views of olive groves, sea, mountains and a historic church, the house itself was more modest in appearance. It suffered greatly from insensitive work - concrete stairs, crude pointing, blocked up windows and cement fillings here there and everywhere. I felt very sad. But worse still where I was hoping to find evidence of the last occupants; family photos on the walls, cupboards and wardrobes filled with everyday objects which is so common in empty houses in the area, there was virtually nothing left behind. There was not even plaster which would have held marks of past furniture.

I thought again. Many photographers before have made socio-documentaries of past ways of living by taking shots of houses seemingly abandoned after the final dinner, taking very little with them. I wanted to do something different. This was an opportunity. I then came up with the title Fragments and Memories - eking out little bits of history and past life, both for the house and the occupants. The photos I hope reflect this aim, giving a little bit of intimacy to a sadly neglected house. The objects I found have been photographed and I believe give a sense of history and past life - give an insight into Dino the owner whose photograph I have included in one of the images.

As mentioned this is not a documentary but a collection of elements that moved me when photographing the interior and exterior. I have used no Photoshop to capture the essence of the house and what is there to view, as it is now. I personally found beauty in the colouring and form of the stonework and the wonderful shapes and form of everyday objects of a different era. Please contemplate and enjoy.

I am in no doubt that the house once renovated will acquire new memories and respect the original ideals of the owners who laid the first stone. But this will record some of the memories and fragments that will probably be lost.


Rich Cameron September 2009