Elizabeth Feirstein

Empty Spaces

Being home this past year has led me to look back at my past and reflect on my own childhood and how I grew up. My home used to be full of life and activity, there was always something going on. Birthday parties, games, and having people over constantly consumed my childhood. I was never alone and always had someone to be with. Now, however, now my home is empty and silent. No more laughter filling the hallways or screaming - you can hear a needle drop now. Each room and area in my home brings back certain memories that completely consume me.  As I walk through my home now I can see my younger self dancing on tables or celebrating years of life, being happy, being with my family. I chose to photograph these places that used to be full of life but are now empty and silent. These images help me to reflect on how much I have grown and changed over the years. I used to be able to walk into my backyard and believe it was home of all toys and that I could do anything here - now it’s empty to me. All these spaces are just vacant and lifeless.

I drew inspiration from the artists Josephine Sittenfeld and Chris Porsz who both took images from when they were younger and recreated them years later. Although neither of them took images of their own physical homes, I still got great ideas of how to capture locations of meaning. I additionally looked at Larry Sultans’ work and how he framed his images in his Pictures From Home series. He wanted to freeze his parents in time in their home, which is what my father was able to do in the photos of my own childhood. Sultans’s images made the house feel alive and lived in, while I want my images to do the opposite.

Although I have lived in this house for 17 years of my life it’s all just empty spaces now.