romaine orthwein photography Series About Contact

Portal Home Looking Glass Spirit


In this series, the process of imagining my 'self' into the interiors of other people's homes has lead me to a number of questions. What do people place into the theater of their domestic interiors in order to feel like they belong? When these objects are displaced, how does one relate to what is left?

I began Home by photographing the interiors of homes that were in various stages of renovation. The homes that I chose were affluent ones, however after they were stripped bare of most of their belongings, it became difficult to recognize them as such. Their affluence became secondary as they spoke to a broader experience of home. After choosing my favorite image of each location, I decided where I wanted to digitally place and/or displace my figure within the space. Because my identity is never fully revealed (the viewer doesn't see my face) I could be any 'one'. The strange positioning of my figure within these spaces creates an ambiguous narrative, which is less about my personal relationship with the notion of home and more about the human process of searching for a sense of belonging.

If home is a metaphor for the construction of identity, then the process of renovating a home represents the deconstruction of this identity. The remnants of people's former lives (objects wrapped in plastic or strips of wallpaper) linger in these hollow spaces, speaking to the connection between place, memory and longing. While the rawness of these interiors implies a degree of fragmentation, it also signifies the imminent arrival of something new. The question remains, "What does it mean to belong?"