Photographer Barbara Iweins cataloged all 12,795 items in her house. This is what she found

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Photographer Barbara Iweins cataloged all 12,795 items in her house. This is what she found

Written by Oscar Holland, CNN

After returning home for the eleventh time after a divorce, Barbara Iwain decided to get her life and everything in it.

Moving from room to room, she recorded all her objects for almost five years, from loose Lego blocks and old key chains to remote controls, kitchen utensils and other small items.

The resulting 12,795 images provide an intimate and unfiltered portrait of a Belgian photographer. Her approach (vibrator and her dental dentist mold is one of many personal items in stock) is almost the exact opposite of today’s social media, and what users expose to the world. Carefully manage.

“Everyone is trying to protect themselves by showing them the ideal version of their lives,” Iweins said on the phone from France. In France, some images are currently on display at the Rencontres d’Arles Photo Festival. “So I thought,’OK, I’ll show you everything. It must be genuine.'”
While filming her belongings, Iweins categorized them by color, material, and frequency of use (from once a day to none at all). Her spreadsheet provided a great deal of insight, both amazing and interesting. Blue is the predominant color in her home, accounting for 16% of all items, while 22% of her clothes are black. Of her bathroom items, 43% are made of plastic. About 90% of the cables in her house are unused and 19% of her books remain unread.

Among her most unexpected discoveries was the abundant metal comb used to extract head lice from the hair of her three children. “It’s something we’re always losing, and I’ve noticed that I have six or seven of these things,” she said. “I was always amazed at everything I had lost and repurchased.”

Examples of many items from Barbara Iweins’ Catalog. credit: Barbara Iwayne

This project encouraged photographers to think about her own materialism, and the consumerism of society as a whole. She estimates that € 121,046 was spent on the entire contents of the house, but her inventory reveals that only 1% of the objects have sentimental value. I did. Still, she retains what she calls a “connection” with thousands of possessions.

“It’s a little sad,” she said. “And my friends are mostly travelers and they really feel a little disappointed with me, so I fully understand-but having (relationship with mine) makes me I’m relieved. “

And despite being a self-proclaimed “neurotic collector,” photographers don’t think they’re hoarding themselves. “I give a lot of things, I don’t buy too much-I think I’m a normal person,” she said.

“I know there are a lot of them,” she added. “But I thought there were more.”

Act of “self-preservation”

In the new book entitled “Catalog” that accompanies the series, photographers order property by type, and the entire page is dedicated to writing tools, cleaning supplies, and toy animals. Taken together, the images are hypnotic and graphic in quality, showing endless variations of everyday forms.

And, often isolated and mediocre, each photo contains a story of her life: a ferocious novel she took from her 16-year-old father’s library, in the hospital she wore at birth. A bracelet, or an anxiolytic that you started taking in your early 40s.

Over the years, Iweins spent an average of 15 hours a week on projects. Bringing order to her turmoil has become a kind of “cure” that helped her overcome not only her divorce, but her subsequent death of her boyfriend.

“When I started, I really believed I was tired of moving home and moving my stuff,” she said. “And I realized it wasn’t at all. It was like an act of self-preservation. Doing something every day was really organizing my life in my mind. It’s a positive process.

“Once the project is complete and we have identified which objects are worth it, I can start living,” she added. “I think it was there for all the reasons.”

“”catalog“Is on display at the Rencontres d’Arles Photo Festival until September 25, 2022. BookPublished by Delpire & Co is now available.

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