‘Home’ A Think Piece by Matilda Vidal.


About a month ago, I broke up with my boyfriend.

When I told him that he could stay in the room that we were renting and that I would
leave, he replied something that surprised me: he said that this place did not feel like
home if I wasn’t there and that there was no point for him to stay.
This made me think about what makes a place home. Is it the bond you have with the
people you share this space with, is the space itself just superficial?
The theme of “home” gradually appeared as a recurring theme in my photography. It
happened unexpectedly, but, this is the first time that I intellectualise it and put it into words.
My relationship with my home is quite profound, it is an important part of my life. Growing
up in the middle of nowhere in rural Brittany, France, means that you spend quite a lot of
time in your home. My parents always put a lot of work into their homes and have tackled
a lot of renovation projects. I have family members working in construction, some others
in antiques and my mother is an estate agent in the countryside. Hence a lot of my world
and the topics of conversation that I have heard since I was a child in my family, were
about houses and living spaces.
The result of this is that I am fascinated by spaces that people call home. I like familiarity
and habits, I like cities and urbanism, I like to know where people are from and what
draws them to their home. I love London and how it has become home for so many
people. It may be an apartment block, a basketball court, a busy high street; there are
always places that people call home in London and I want to learn more about them.
Moreover, in my work in production design for film, I always find myself thinking about
domestic places. Recreating living spaces for films is an amazing exercise that demands
a lot of attention to detail. It requires to dive deep into the script and its characters: their
history, their passions, their characters traits etc. What kind of decoration (if any) is on
the wall? Would the space be cluttered or neat and tidy? What food is in the fridge?
Every answer needs to be decided according to the story and characters, design in film,
is an essential part of storytelling. Thinking about those crucial and revealing details
while designing films, made me realise that I could also pursue them with my
photography.
When entering a home, I like to see the charm that spills out of a kitchen or the layers of
decoration that has built up in a bedroom throughout the years. When in an outside
location, I like to think about memories and nostalgia. I love to take picture of those
places that people have called home once and come back to later with reminiscence. Are
these a places calm and peaceful or are they places of chaos, anxiety and worry? What
are or what were the relationships like in these living spaces? I am attracted to the
atmosphere of a place, its light and how the objects scattered around can tell me so
much about a person without them being there. Hence, this love for the home, the house
and the familiar has become a recurring theme in my photography and is what directed
me in this series of photographs. Every room tells stories and I want to share them.

-Words + Images by Matilda Vidal.

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