I like to think that every time I shoot somebody’s home, I am giving them a doorway into a beautiful time in their life. Even when little feet are no longer running across the floor, and the kids room has turned into a guest room, and even after the wallpaper is ripped down or the walls have collapsed, the door will still be there.
Last year I started photographing artist studios. Just as homes reflect the families that inhabit them, studios have a beautiful way of reflecting the artist that uses it.
Artists use their space to express themselves, and the space becomes a portrait of them.
Joanne’s home studio in the basement of her charmingly retro home contains cadmium blue, lemon yellow, potter’s pink, raw sienna, and all the colours in between.
The Green House is the home of Amy, Geoff, their son Edward, and two dog, Maizy & Sam. No matter where Edward goes in life, coloured doors will no doubt always remind him of home. He calls their home the green house because of the green door. When he plays in his room he goes through his yellow door. When he goes to his parents’ room it’s a red door. He might open a purple door to visit his mom in her office, or find his dad working out behind the orange door. When it’s bath time, it’s blue door time.
One the most striking things in the Green House for me was Edward’s giant teddy bear given to him by his grandparents. If Edward ever encounters a real bear in the woods someday, he might get a warm fuzzy feeling before running away in terror.
Years from now when Edward thinks about the home that he grew up in, he’ll probably remember a home of discovery and play; of two large dogs that followed him around, of spending time with his parents in the yard, and he’ll most definitely remember exploring the magical stream that runs through the forest next to the house.
He might even be tempted to paint his door green.
When Natalie and Adam first stepped through the front door of their North Vancouver home three years ago, they recognized that it was the one for them. Since then they have watched their young toddler turn into a young child, they brought home their second child, and made a comfortable life surrounded by nature.
The 'Grouse House' is a tranquil home where Natalie and Adam live with their two kids, Linden and Georgia, and their dogs Juno and Lucy. I always start a Housestories shoot with a casual interview with the family about their home, and one of the questions that I often ask is 'what will they miss the most about this home 15 years from now’, and the answers always have one thing in common - it’s the little things; the ordinary, everyday moments. In the 2 hours that I was there, I saw Natalie and Linden bottle a batch of homemade kombucha (pear flavoured) while Adam rocked their 10 week old daughter in the living room, I saw the two dogs Juno and Lucy following the family around the house and finding familiar places to lay down, and of course, I saw Linden turn into a superhero and fly around the home fighting crime (as a fellow parent of a two young kids, this came as no surprise to me).
Over time the past starts to fade, and it’s often the everyday moments that fade first. I hope that opening this album will be like stepping through the front door again, and experiencing a typical, ordinary, beautiful day in their home.
My wife and I moved to North Vancouver 4 years ago when my daughter Maddy was just turning one. Last week we moved to Alberta, and I’ve realized that although I photographed bits and pieces off our home, I realized that I regrettably never did an actual Housestories shoot of our own home. This home wasn’t large, and it was never going to be our forever home, and so I suppose I thought that I neglected the fact that it will always be a incredibly special home for us, a place where some of the best memories we’ll ever have were created - where we brought our son Jasper home for the very first time; where Maddy would sit on the countertop and help me make pancakes; where she would make up songs and sing them all day long, where Jasper would learn to sit up, learn to crawl, and take his first steps; where the perfect day would be when it was just the four of us playing on living room floor.
Of course we will still have these memories, but many of them will turn into hazy fragments. I created Housestories so that families can someday open an album and have all these beautiful memories light up as they revisit the long forgotten details of the past. I am so excited about the many new memories that we will make in our new home in Edmonton, Alberta, and of course I will be sure to give myself, and my family, the gift of keeping these years vivid and alive.