Real life inspiration for photography winner

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30 Jun 2017

Ara Institute of Canterbury second year Art&Design student Roseanne Jones has scooped another prestigious award for her photographs depicting her parents’ ultra-cluttered living room.

Jones won the Student Category 2017 in the NZIPP Iris Awards this month for her gritty black and white documentary photos of her family’s struggle with hoarding. She also won the national Canon Eyecon competition tertiary level top prize in March for her work.  

Read more: in The Press


Read more: Living Room Pathway, By Roseanne Jones

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. Matthew 6:19

Compulsive Hoarding has been featured on the television documentary series “Hoarding: Buried Alive”. Doctors have found a connection between compulsive hoarding and depression. It is estimated between 2-5% of adults are effected with compulsive hoarding. As time goes on the greater the problem becomes for compulsive hoarders. Their living space becomes a dangerous fire hazard with no back door exit and windows blocked. The front door is the only way out and with only a narrow pathway to navigate through the situation can be extremely dangerous.

There are many reasons why people hoard. Some say they may need an item or have a special memory associated with the item. Some fill a void, such as empty nest syndrome others just cannot say no to a freebie or a bargain and end up accumulating so much stuff that has become too “valuable” to part with. Some people get a bit of a high when they go out spending, it makes them feel good; they have time on their hands and money in their wallets. Some buy brand new items while others go round to second hand pawn shops, flea markets and charity shops. Some people collect certain things while others have a variety of things.

Below is a poem I have written to go with my images;

With barely any space to move and breath, a living room is no longer a room for living.

A space where man-made mountains are created from everyday knickknacks, that one would usually disregard and throw away.  

A space in which you are tripping and running into stuff, there is only a small path to walk and navigate through.

Stop buying stuff, your space is too full, there will soon be no room for you.

This claustrophobic space is making you ill, It is becoming so full and so hard to navigate through.

Geoff Johnson’s photography inspired my Compulsive Hoarding images. One of his subjects is his childhood home, like mine, the only difference is his mother hoarded when he was still living at home as a child. My mum and dad filled up my childhood home after I left home. Geoff’s photography is not a first person perspective showing feet like my works. He does however have a bird’s eye view, looking down onto the ground and shows the oven and bench in one of his images. The photographer may have been standing at the top of a ladder and it looks like he has used a wide angle lens like I have used. Geoff Johnson has chosen to go with colour in his series of photographs. I find it very full on and overwhelming with keeping the photographs in colour that is why I decided to go with black and white. I think he has used available light, maybe from a window. I used direct flash, this has given the images a harsh gritty feel, reminiscent of Weegee’s documentary photography of the 1940’s.