In 2008, I took a series of digital photographs of everything I felt belonged to me at that point in my life. I was going through a difficult point in my relationship at the time, so in photographing my things, I felt I was separating my life, and even myself from his. I only took pictures of what I felt was mine - the things that I would take with me if I left. The result was over 1,100 photographs taken over a period of three days. At the time, I viewed those things as a part of me, things that would go with me wherever I went.
Now, 6 years later, I don't have most of those things. Piece by piece, move after move, I've outgrown, lost, or replaced almost everything I owned from 2008. There are a few things that remain the same, some mugs, my yoga mat, a stray fork, and a well-worn and once loved wool coat. As I've grown up, my tastes and needs evolving, my possessions have shifted with me.
Still, I often fall into the trap of feeling defined by my belongings. Sometimes I spend hours, usually during work, where I'm glued to a computer screen for 8 - 11 hours at a time, browsing Pinterest, online shops, and etsy - favoriting or pinning items I would like to have. After a long day of Internet window shopping, I look at the resulting pinboard or favorited items page, and feel vaguely satisfied with myself. "See - I have taste!!! I know what's beautiful,"'I tell myself. I feel validated.
I know this is ridiculous. Possessions don't make a person. And, "You can't take it with you!" Why, then, do we Instagram our perfect table spread and our carefully chosen outfits, pin how we would love our houses to look, and read magazine articles about what's in so-and-so's bag, if we don't have some sense that what we choose to own defines us - or separates us from everyone else, even if it's just a little bit?
So I've started this project - drawings of everything that I own - in an attempt to understand what it means to own things and how it affects the way I am seen by myself and others. I will share it here, as I go.